William Sumrall

William Howard Sumrall ("Big Train"),1 born December 4th, 1916 in Deering, MO,2 3 was a was a Negro League baseball player from about 1936-1940. Sumrall lived in Blytheville, AR for many years.


Summerall was the son of William Prentiss Sumrall and Maggie (nee Valree) Sumrall.4 5 He was born in Deering, MO and moved with his family to near Blytheville, AR around 1928.6

Sumrall was a large pitcher. He likely debuted with the Claybrook Tigers around 1936.7 He later played with St. Louis Stars in 1936,8 Donner Hanna in the 1937 Washington League of the Buffalo Municipal Baseball Association in Buffalo, NY,9 the Buffalo Aces in 1938,10 11 and the Memphis Red Sox in 1940.

Sumrall later moved to Gary, IN and worked for the U.S. Steele Co. He died at St. Mary's Medical Center in Gary on October 29th, 198412 13 and was buried in Oak Hill Cemetery in Gary.


"ARKANSAS DELTA - W.H. "Big Train" Summerall grew up in the Arkansas Delta and played semi-pro baseball for the Claybrook Tigers in the 1930s and 1940s. The Tigers played against other teams in the National Negro Baseball League, including the Memphis Red Sox and the Birmingham Black Barons. Interviewed in 1982 Summerall recalled, "the team was as good as some of the teams in the professional black leagues but we were considered semi-pro because we weren't in the established league." While playing for the Tigers, Summerall pitched and lost an exhibition game against the Kansas City Monarchs, who fielded the game's finest pitcher, Satchel Paige. Summerall later barnstormed with Paige until major league baseball was finally integrated in 1947, which led to the end of separate black and white leagues."14


Statistics at Baseball-Reference.com.

Statistics at Seamheads.com.