Fred Spearman

Frederick D. "Babe" Spearman, born Janaury 18th, 1917 in Arkadelphia, AR,1 was a Negro League baseball player with the Dubisson Tigers. He was the son of Charles Spearman, the brother of Charles Spearman Jr., and the cousin of Sam Wheeler and Leon Wheeler. See the Spearman Family.


Fred Spearman with Wellington, 1940.
Fred Spearman with Wellington, 1940.
Frederick Spearman was the son of Negro league baseball player Charles Spearman Sr., though the elder Spearman was not actively involved Frederick's childhood.2 Instead, Frederick grew up with his mother, Beulah (nee Catledge) Spearman, moving from Arkadelphia, AR, to the Dallas, TX,3 to Little Rock, AR,4 as a child. In Little Rock, Frederick attended Dunbar High School, but dropped out after ninth grade to take a job in brick masonry.5 Meanwhile, he played with the local the Dubisson Tigers baseball team.6

After moving to New York to live with his father in 1935, Spearman took a job working at Penn Station.7 He also briefly earned a position playing with the Newark Eagles of the Negro National League in August 1936.8 9 10 11 12 Later, he worked as an elevator operator for the Wellington Hotel in New York.13 14 He played for the hotel's baseball team, the Wellington Dukes, from 1938-194115 16 17 and the Norwalk Black Crusaders from 1939-1940.18 He also possibly played with the Brooklyn Royal Giants in 1947.19

Spearman served as a Corporal in the US Army during World War II. He died on November 10, 2010 in Jamaica, NY and was buried in Calverton National Cemetery, in Calverton, NY.20


"Standout of the invading club [Norwalk Black Crusaders] is Spearman who boasts an average of .837 in the six games the club has played to date . . . Spearman has had at least three hits in each of these games."21

"The opening inning saw Fred Spearman lead off with a long double that bounced inches from the right field foul line and Harry Williams hit a clean single to tally the first run for the [Newark] Eagles."22

"[Spearman] joined the Dubisson Tigers semi-pro baseball team in 1933 at age 16. His older brother, Charles, and Mex Johnson, also played. . . . Frederick played baseball when not working alongside his father [Charles]. He got his big break in 1936, when he spent half a season with the Newark Eagles of the Negro National League, making $200 a month. Spearman, an infielder, found it difficult to crack the Eagles' infield, which featured Hall of Fame third baseman Ray Dandridge, Hall of Fame shortstop "Wee" Willie Wells and All-Star George "Mule" Suttles at first base. Most of Spearman's time was spent on the bench, so he opted to move on with his life. But not before playing a game in Yankee Stadium and also facing Satchel Paige in an exhibition game. Spearman's professional baseball experiences helped him land a job in 1937 at the Wellington Hotel, where he worked as an elevator operator during the day. He suited up for the Wellington Hotel baseball team in a hotel league on the weekends. His brother, Charles, joined him in New York in 1938 and also worked at the hotel and played baseball, Frederick said."23

"Frederick “Freddie” Spearman was born on January 18, 1917 in Arkadelphia, Arkansas, the youngest son of Charles and Beulah Spearman. He departed this life on November 10, 2010. He received his early education in Dallas, Texas and Little Rock, Arkansas. He attended Dunbar High School in Little Rock, where excelled in all major sports. In 1935, Freddie, also affectionately known as “Babe”, left his beloved Arkansas to join his father in New York City. Upon his arrival, he worked at Penn Station with his Dad. He also was employed at The Wellington Hotel. Freddie proudly served as a corporal in the United States Army from 1941 to 1945. He later worked for the National Gypsum Company until his retirement in 1979. Freddie was a “sportsman” proud to have played baseball for teams such as the Dubisson Tigers, The Wellington Hotel and Lowery Field. He was fortunate to have been part of history, having played baseball for The Negro Major Leagues Newark Eagles. He was united in Holy Matrimony to the late Sarah Eley. They had a long and happy union until the time of her death in 1999. Throughout his life, “Babe” always showed love, respect and admiration for his brother, the late, great Charles “Bo” Spearman. Freddie will be remembered for his stately presence as a concerned friend and neighbor. He leaves to mourn: sister-in-law, Versie Spearman; cousins Dan Minor, Tony Minor and Mary Ann Salley; and a host of friends."24
2 Untold Stories: Black Sport Heroes Before Integration, by Darren Ivy and Jeff Krupsaw. 2002.
5 Untold Stories: Black Sport Heroes Before Integration, by Darren Ivy and Jeff Krupsaw. 2002.
6 "Timber Team", Darren Ivy, Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, 7/4/2002
10 Untold Stories: Black Sport Heroes Before Integration, by Darren Ivy and Jeff Krupsaw. 2002.
11 Philadelphia Tribune, 8/20/1936, p.13
15 New Amsterdam News, 8/24/1940, p.14
16 New Amsterdam News, 6/24/1939, p.15
23 Untold Stories: Black Sport Heroes Before Integration, by Darren Ivy and Jeff Krupsaw. 2002.