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Harry Kenyon

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Harry Claudius Kenyon, born April 10, 1894 in Arkadelphia, AR1, was a Negro League baseball player and manager.

Biography

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Harry Kenyon was the son of Girley "G. A." Kenyon, an educator who served as principal of several black schools in Texas and Oklahoma during Harry's youth.23 With a family background in education, Harry was able to attend school at multiple black institutions, including Arkansas Baptist College in Little Rock, AR and Paul Quinn College in Waco, TX, as well as Shorter College in North Little Rock, AR, where Kenyon served as athletic director.4 Later, he became a teacher and professor, instructing university classes during the baseball offseason.2

Kenyon's baseball career likely began with the local Hot Springs Bear Cats in 1917. In June, Hot Springs traveled to play in Longview, TX, where the team subsequently combined with the Longview club to become the Texas All-Stars. Kenyon journeyed north with the new team, playing outfield and catcher in games against the region's best clubs, including the Chicago American Giants and the Indianapolis A.B.C.'s. The exposure perhaps helped Kenyon earn a position with the Dallas Black Giants of the Texas Negro League, with whom he played part of the 1919 season.5 Mid-way through the year, Kenyon left Dallas to play with the Royal Giants of Brooklyn, NY, where numerous other former Texas Negro Leaguers were playing under the leadership of Texas native Louis Santop. While playing for the Royal Giants during the remainder of 1919 and the whole of the 1920 season, Kenyon displayed remarkable versatility. Although his performance both at the plate and on the mound was fairly average, Kenyon's ability to pitch and also play nearly any position on the field proved him to be a valuable player.

In 1921, Kenyon was recruited to play with the Indianapolis A.B.C.'s of the Negro National League. During what became perhaps the best season of his career, Kenyon pitched more than 150 innings for Indianapolis, recording a decent 4.02 ERA. In addition, he played more than 65 games in the outfield, displaying above average hitting. The combination made Kenyon one of the A.B.C.'s most productive players.

Kenyon later became a principal and reverend.67

Kenyon died November 3rd, 1973 and buried in Odd Fellows Cemetery, Morrilton, AR.8


Excerpts

"Harry Kenyon, of the Royal Giants, arrived in town to-day from Little Rock, Ark., where he has been athletic director of Shorter College during the winter. He is in the pink of condition and will be on the diring slab for the colored cracks in the final game Sunday against the Bushwicks at Dexter Park."4

"Kenyon, big right-handed pitcher, also will report from the Arkansas Baptist college . . ." 9

"Prof. Harry Kenyon, son of Prof. G. A. Kenyon, principal of schools at Arcadia [Okla.], was in the city [Oklahoma City, Okla.], Saturday, on his way to Flipper-Key-Davis University, where he has been elected Dean of the College Department of the University. Prof. Kenyon is a graduate of Shorter College, Little Rock, Ark., and has the degree of A. B. He is one of the young men of the state who has really made good and Oklahoma is proud of him. His father, Prof. G. A. Kenyon, is one of the old pioneers of Oklahoma, and the family lived for many years at Ardmore. Prof. Kenyon will prove a valuable asset to the University. He is an athlete of marked ability. For many years he has been a star at Shorter College. Flipper-Key-Davis is expected to take first rank in athletics during the coming months. In addition to his student activities at Shorter College, Prof. Kenyon spent several years at Paul Quinn College, Waco, Texas, and at the Arkansas Baptist College, Little Rock, Ark."2

"Prof. Harry C. Kenyon, teacher at Arkadelphia high school, was in the city [North Little Rock, Ark.] this week." 10

"Among the new men who have signed with the team are Harry C. Kenyon of Arkadelphia, Ark., who was a star outfielder with Rube Foster’s [American Giants] of Chicago last season . . ."11

"Harry Kenyon was in center. He is a fair fielder and hitter. He was also used as a pitcher." 12

"The [Arkansas Baptist Buffaloes] lost the state title which they have held since 1925 ? with the exception of 1921 season when the Shorter College eleven led by the great Harry Kenyon downed the Buffaloes by a 12 to 7 score." 13

"Such former baseball stars as . . . Harry Kenyon . . . grappled with class room problems before joining teams in the leagues." 14

"Harrison Claudius Kenyon, 78, of 411 N. Chestnut, Morrilton, a school administrator for 48 years and dean of men and special consultant at Prairie View College at Prairie View, Tex., died Saturday. Mr. Kenyon was a member of the Trinity Baptist Church. Surviving is his widow, Mrs. Lavada Kenyon. Funeral will be at 3:30 p.m. at Trinity Baptist Church at Morrilton. Burial will be at Oddfellows Cemetery by Cosmopolitan Funeral Home at Morrilton."15

Stats

Statistics at Baseball-Reference.com.

Statistics at Seamheads.com.

3. Harry Kenyon's stepmother Katie Kenyon and sister Gladys Kenyon died in the 1915 Ardmore Gas Explosion.
10. Chicago Defender, 12/16/1922
13. Philadelphia Tribune, 11/24/1927
14. Baltimore Afro-American, 4/29/1950
15. Arkansas Gazette, 9/4/1973


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