Horace Cole

Horace Lee Cole ("Sonny Boy"), born January 11th, 1908, in Little Rock, AR,1 was a Negro baseball player from 1929-1930.2


Cole was born in Little Rock, AR, to Ed Marion Cole and Laura B. Cole.3 . As a baseball pitcher, Cole played with the Dallas Black Giants in 19294 and 19305 and the Little Rock Black Travelers in 1931.6 During this engagement with the Black Giants, Cole displayed the rare ability to pitch with either his right or left arms. In one well-publicized occasion, Cole used this ambidexterity to win three games against the Houston Black Buffs in only four days.7

By the 1940s, Cole worked at the local Little Rock Boys Club8 as groundskeeper of Lamar Porter Field.9 He enlisted in the Army during World War II and was honorably discharged in 1943.

Cole's younger brothers Clarence and Lawrence were also talented baseball players. Clarence played with the Dubisson Tigers and both played with the C&C Hotel All-Stars.

Cole continued to work as groundskeeper of Lamar Porter Field until his death on April 21st, 1971 in Little Rock, AR. He was buried in Haven of Rest Cemetery in Little Rock, AR.10


"Cole, Dallas’ star pitcher who can hurl with either arm, is scheduled for mound duty."11

"Dallas, Tex., (AP) --Opponents of the Dallas Black Giants in the Texas negro league never know what kind of pitching they may face when Horace Cole hurls against them. The chunky Dallas moundsman can pitcher equally well with either arm, and is never quite sure himself, until game time, which wing he will use. He won three games in four days in a recent series with Houston. Pitching right-handed in the first game, he allowed seven hits. The next day he southpawed Houston into submission. After a day of rest he came back "north-handed" and held his opponents to three hits in ten innings."12

"Cole, Dallas' star twirler, whose arm has been bothering him, is expected to be ready to start in the first game Sunday."13

"The most valuable pitcher in baseball isn’t George Uhle or Burleigh Grimes. Neither is it Eddie Voss if one wishes to reduce ones baseball to semi-pro, although Eddie has done about as much hurling for the Dr. Peppers this season as it is possible for one man to provide. He is Horace Cole, star ambidextrous hurler of the Dallas Black Giants in the Texas Negro league. Cole tosses them with either hand and can alternate by pitching orthodox to right handed batter and southpaw to left hand hitters. Or he can use one arm one day and the other the next. Against Houston recently he hurled the first game right handed allowing but seven hits. The next day he southpawed the Black Buffs into submission. He routed the third day but came back in the final to win the fourth game pitching north-handed."14

"Horace Lee (Sonny) Cole, aged 63, of 1112 Jones Street, died Wednesday. Survivors are a daughter, Mrs. Omazell Hudson of Little Rock, and four sisters, Mrs. Evalina Cole of Little Rock, Mrs. Lola Blake, Mrs. Edna Brown and Mrs. Lucille Hurst of Detroit. Funeral arrangements will be announce by Dubisson Co."15 – AG 4/22/1971

"Funeral for Horace Lee (Sonny) Cole, aged 63, of 111 Jones Street, who died Wednesday, will be at 10 a. m. Saturday at Dubisson Co. by Rev. F. T. Guy. Burial will be at Haven of Rest Cemetery."16

"Tears were shed Thursday among long-standing patrons and former players at Lamar Porter Field over the death of Horace (Sonny) Cole, the groundskeeper since the Little Rock Boys Club facility was opened in 1936. Thousands of youngsters [who] knew him along the way held him in affection . . . “When I’d see Brooks Robinson in New York or somewhere,” says retired LRBC director Billy Mitchell, “he’d ask me, ‘How’s Sonny?’ He was active at the field until his last second. He was talking to someone and leaned over and that was it."17
2 Cole is listed twice in the 1930 U.S. Census as a "Ball Player", once in Little Rock, and again in Dallas.
4 Galveston Daily News, 6/3/1929, p,4
5 Dallas Morning News, 4/21/1930
7 Charlotte Observer, 6/2/1929, p. 24
9 Arkansas Gazette, 4/22/1971
10 Arkansas Gazette, 4/22/1971
11 Dallas Morning News, 5/23/1929, p. 18
12 Charlotte Observer, 6/2/1929, p. 24
13 Dallas Morning News, 6/15/1929, p. 18
14 Galveston Daily News, 6/3/1929, p,4
15 Arkansas Gazette, 4/22/1971
16 Arkansas Gazette, 4/23/1971
17 Arkansas Gazette, 4/22/1971