John Chisum

John Chisum1 ("Big Chism"), born April 5th, 1915 in Marianna, AR,2 3 was a Negro baseball player from about 1934-1948. He was the brother of Eli Chism.


Chisum with the Van Dyke Colored House of Davids, 1939.
Chisum with the Van Dyke Colored House of Davids, 1939.
Chisum was the son of Robert Chisum and Winnie G. (nee Lawson) Chisum.4 He was born in the small Mississippi delta town of Marianna, AR, but moved with his family to St. Louis, MO by 1920.5 He was known as "Big Chism," a nickname that distinguished him from his younger brother Eli, known as "Lil Chism."

Chisum was primarily a third baseman throughout his career, which began as early as 1934 with the St. Louis All-Stars.6 He also played with various other St. Louis Negro teams in during the 1930s and and 1940s, including the St. Louis Giants and the St. Louis Stars in the 1937 Negro American League. In 1939, he played with barnstorming Colored House of David team7 and in 1942 joined the New Orleans Black Pelicans.8 After World War II, Chisum toured with the Negro American League All-Stars9 and after the 1947 season joined a postseason all-star team that including his brother and a number of other well-known Negro leaguers.10 His final known season in Negro baseball came in 1948 with the St. Louis Braves.11

Chisum died on August 5th, 1982.12 13 He was buried in St. Peter's Cemetery in Normandy, MO.14 15


"John Chism of the Colored House of David and American Giants will be at third [for the Negro American League All-Stars]."16


Statistics at the Seamheads Negro League Database.
1 Chisum maintained the family spelling of his surname. Both of his parents used "Chisum." His brother Eli, however, adopted the spelling "Chism."
2 Chisum's World War II Draft Card. His birthplace is given as "Marian, Arkansas." However, his strong family connections to Marianna, AR suggest that his birthplace was transcribed incorrectly.
3 Chism's birth date is listed as April 6th in his Social Security Death Index record.