Hot Springs Bear Cats (1917)

The Hot Springs Bear Cats, also known as the Hot Springs Giants, were a Negro baseball team based in Hot Springs, AR, in 1917. The team was later based out of Longview, TX.


In 1923, Negro League player William "Nacogdoches" Ross detailed his Negro league baseball career in a series of articles titled "My Twelve Years in the Game" in the Dallas Express. Included in one of Ross' articles was his account of the 1917 Hot Springs Giants.1 According to Ross, the Giants were comprised of a number of young players who later went on to have successful Negro baseball careers, including Arkansans Harry Kenyon, Charles Spearman, and Floyd Gardner. Ross' account also describes how he, as the manager of a Negro team based in Longview, TX, booked Hot Springs to play a series of games in June, 1917. After only the second game of the series, however, the owner of the Hot Springs team abandoned his players. Afterward, Ross offered to become Hot Springs's new manager. As a result, the Hot Springs Giants came under the ownership of Longview's owner W. P. Northcott. Eventually, Ross, as manager of both Longview and Hot Springs, combined the two teams to create the Texas All-Stars, otherwise known as the Fort Worth Black Wonders.2 The All-Stars toured northward, playing the Indianapolis A.B.C.'s and the Chicago American Giants. The season closed with a double-header against the Dallas Black Giants.


"W. P. Northcott, owner of the negro team which played several games here under the name of the Hot Springs Bear Cats, has picked a team from the entire Southern Colored League and will tour the North with a team he has booked as the Fort Worth Wonders. Northcott has already arranged game in Oklahoma City, Kansas City, St. Louis, Indianapolis and Chicago. The team will leave here Monday."2

"In 1917 he [William Ross] signed a contract to manage a club for W. P. Northcutt at Longview and he got together a first-class bunch of ball players and in June, the same year, the Hot Springs giants came to Longview and dropped 5 games in a row and their manager took all the money and deserted them and Ross got busy and signed most all the good players on the club to play for him and then changed his club's name to the Hot Springs Giants and most of the fans will agree that he had a tuff [sic] bunch to beat last of the season, he won 14 games, lost 9, he started."3

"On the 2nd of March [1917] I [William Ross] received a letter from W. P. Northcutt of Longview, asking me my terms to take charge of the Longview Ball Club as Manager. So I wired him that before I could agree to take charge of the club I would like to have a talk with him and his answer was my transportation from Monroe to Longview. After he and I had a long talk he agreed to let me be the boss of everything and also run the club as I saw fit; then I signed a contract. The contract I signed in Longview was the best I had ever signed and I was determined to make good. My contract called for $150.00 a month and at the end of the season I was to get 10 per cent of the clubs profit. So one can imagine how eager I was to have a good club. After looking over the bunch of players that had represented Longview I decided they were not the kind to make a winning club; so I only used two of them. Bob Bailey who at the time was a catcher and Charlie Weeks, an outfielder. So I went to Monroe and brought back with me Ed Darden, 3b; Marcus Stanfield, 2b; Emmet Scott, catcher. I also brought players from Marshall; Edwin Reed, 1b; Sandy Thompson, cf; Isaac Watson, lf; and some players from other cities. On April 20th we played our first game against Shreveport and beat them 5-4. My club was as follows: Edwin Reed, 1b; Stanfield, 2b; Darden, 3b; Bailey, ss; Watson, lf; Thompson, cf; Weeks, rf; Scott, Hendrix, p; I kept this club together until July then I disbanded it and took charge of the Hot Springs Giants. While managing the Longview club I booked the Hot Springs Giants which were on their way to Dallas for the 18th and 19th and 20th of June to play in Longview on the 13th, 14th and 15th of June. My Longview Club was booked to play in Galveston in the 17th and 18th and 19th of June, but while playing the Hot Springs club in Longview the night after the second game, the Hot Springs owner took all the receipts and went back to Hot Springs and left the players without an money at all; so we played the third game and I gave them their end of the receipts and that night they held a meeting among themselves and decided to sell the base ball outfit and divide the money. So they came to me to sell out. After listening to them for a while I asked them how they would like to play for me and they all said they would be perfectly satisfied to play for me; at the same time I knew they were booked for the 19th of June and that meant a great deal of money if I could keep them together and fill the date. The Hot Springs Club was composed of the following players: Henry Blackmon, Edgar Wesley, Harry Kenyon, Floyd Gardner, Jelly Roll, Lonnie Clark, Johnnie Watson and others; so I picked the best men of the two clubs and sent them to Dallas. Here are the names of those I sent to Dallas: Bailey 1b; Blackmon, 2b; Clark, 3b; Thompson, lf; Watson, cf; Spearmon, rf; Hendrick, c; Kenyon, p; and I took the rest to Galveston. It was very good, we had two clubs because we only broke even on our trip to Galveston but made money in Dallas. I kept both clubs until July 4th; Bailey was in charge of the Hot Springs bunch. After the 4th I took Scott and put him with the Giants and disbanded my Longview club and with my Hot Springs bunch I beat everybody with ease with the exception of the Dallas club. In August, I took my club to Indianapolis and played C. I. Taylor’s A. B. C.’s which club I am a member of at this present time and from there we went to Chicago. Although we lost most of our games we made money and played good ball and I considered that club as the 2nd best club I have ever managed. I my next article I will tell you the best I have managed. We closed our 1917 season with a double header in Dallas; lost the first game and tied the second."1


6/14/1917Panther Park, Fort Worth, TXDallas Black GiantsL344
6/15/1917Panther Park, Fort Worth, TXDallas Black GiantsW295
6/23/1917Panther Park, Fort Worth, TXDallas Black GiantsW506
6/24/1917Panther Park, Fort Worth, TXDallas Black GiantsL32Doubleheader7
6/24/1917Panther Park, Fort Worth, TXDallas Black GiantsL02Doubleheader7
Hot Springs combines with Longview to become the Texas All-Stars
7/22/1917Washington Park, Indianapolis, INIndianapolis A.B.C.'sL21Doubleheader
7/22/1917Washington Park, Indianapolis, INIndianapolis A.B.C.'sL94Doubleheader
7/23/1917Washington Park, Indianapolis, INIndianapolis A.B.C.'sL111
7/24/1917Washington Park, Indianapolis, INIndianapolis A.B.C.'sL42
7/29/1917Schorling Park, Chicago, ILChicago American GiantsL75
7/30/1917Schorling Park, Chicago, ILChicago American GiantsL76
7/31/1917Schorling Park, Chicago, ILChicago American GiantsL162


Buel 8
Bob Bailey1/17/1895 in Grand Cane, LA5/11/1962 in Dallas, TX1
Henry Blackmon9/19/1891 in Hillsboro, TX8/8/1921 in Baltimore, MD 1
Loney Clark10/12/1895 in Argenta, AR 1
Floyd Gardner9/27/1895 in Russellville, AR3/28/1977 in Chicago, IL1
Scott Hendrix4/3/1888 in Shelbourne, KY 1 4 5 9 6 7
Harry Kenyon4/10/1894 in Arkadelphia, AR11/3/1973 in Morrilton, AR1
William "Nacogdoches" Ross10/5/1893 in Corrigan, TX12/22/1964 in Diboll, TX1 10 4 6 7
Eugene Scott8/31/1889 in Shreveport, LA6/12/1947 in Detroit, MI1 6
Simmons 4
Charles Spearman11/3/1891 in Arkadelphia, AR 1 10
Sandy Thompson 1
Johnny Watson1/5/1896 in Beaumont, TX 1 9
Edgar Wesley5/2/1891 in Waco, TX7/?/1966 in Detroit, MI1


The following stats were given for pitcher William "Nacogdoches" Ross's time with the Hot Springs Giants / Bear Cats in the Dallas Express, October 29th, 1921 .

2. Fort Worth Star-Telegram, 7/13/1917
4. Fort Worth Star Telegram, 6/15/1917
5. Fort Worth Star Telegram, 6/16/1917
6. Fort Worth Star Telegram, 6/24/1917
7. Fort Worth Star Telegram, 6/25/1917
9. Fort Worth Star Telegram, 6/22/1917
10. Fort Worth Star Telegram, 6/14/1917

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