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Leroy Handcock

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Leroy James Handcock, born September 5th, 1928 in Zent, AR,1 was a Negro League baseball player from 1950-1956 and a professional baseball player from 1955-1956. He was the brother of Eugene Handcock and Eddie Handcock.

Biography

Handcock was the son of farmers John Handcock and Felma (nee Norrington) Handcock. He was raised near Forrest City, Ark.2 His baseball career as an 5'8" infielder-outfielder may have begun as early as 1950 with the Memphis Red Sox.3 In 1951, Handcock was signed to play with the New Orleans Eagles with whom he proved to be a valuable as well as popular utility player4 despite hitting a mere .190 in 30 games.5 After the New Orleans club disbanded during the offseason, it was reported that Handcock and six other Eagles players were sold to the Pittsburgh Pirates.6 However, the deal was evidently aborted7 and Handcock joined the Chicago American Giants for the 1952 season instead.8

In 1953, Handcock played in the USAREUR baseball World Series in Germany while serving in the U.S. Army.9 After returning to the U.S, Handcock joined the Memphis Red Sox. In eleven games during the 1954 Negro American League season, Handcock hit only .205, but fielded well at second base.10 At the season's end, Handcock joined the barnstorming Negro American League All-Stars,11 with whom he was noticed by the Cleveland Indian's Larry Doby.12 The following spring, Handcock was invited to spring training with Cleveland13 and was initially assigned to play with Keokuk in the class B Three-I League. In mid May, he was shifted to Fargo-Moorehead in the class C Northern League.14 Handcock finished the season with Vidalia in the Class D George State League, hitting a combined .254 for the year. After another stint with the Negro American League All-Stars during the offseason,15 Handcock returned to Fargo-Moorehead where he played the whole of the 1956 season and hit .256, ending his minor league career. Handcock's last engagement in baseball came in one final tour with the Negro American League All-Stars during the 1956 offseason.

Handcock later served in the U.S. Army during the Vietnam War. He died on August 2nd, 2002 in Memphis, TN, and was buried in Clark Cemetery in Caldwell, AR.16

Excerpts

"Eddie and Leroy Handcock, a brother combination from Arkansas State College . . . The Handcock brothers have been contributing to the [New Orleans Eagles] team's recent comeback. Eddie, an 18-year-old pitcher, was recommended to the team by his brother, rightfielder Leroy. . . . Leroy, after a blistering start, has seen his average slip during recent weeks. Right now he's hitting .259 but vows he'll be picking up that average shortly."17

"Leroy is playing outfield and has much such a debut in this position that fans always give him a big hand when he comes to bat or goes to his position on the field."18

"Manager Paul Hardy of the American Giants has assembled a strong team which has been playing great ball the first few weeks of the season. Some of the players in his lineup are . . . LeRoy Handcock, outfielder (Forrest City, [A]rk.)"19

"Keokuk’s second baseman is the only rookie on the club. He is Leroy Hancock, 24, who was signed by Cleveland’s Larry Doby while barnstorming with Campanella’s all-stars last season."20

"Mr. LeRoy James Handcock, age 73, of Palestine, died Friday, Aug. 2, 2002, at Baptist East Hospital in Memphis. Mr. Handcock, born Sept. 5, 1928, in Fargo, was the son of John Handcock and Felma Norrington Handcock. He was a veteran and a retiree of MacDonnell Douglas/Boeing Aircraft Co. Mr. Handcock was a former Negro League baseball player with several teams including the Memphis Red Sox and New Orleans Eagles. He was also a tenor in the Rainbow Quartet. Mr. Handcock is survived by three daughters, Alberta Handcock of Pontiac, Mich., Sharon Butler of St. Louis, Mo., and Elnora Guy of Long Beach, Calif.; two sons, Clyde Gray of Colt and Leonard Hall of Cleveland, Ohio; four sisters, Helen Witherspoon of St. Louis, Mo., Essie Avant of Forrest City, Samella Robinson of Flint, Mich., and Ruthie McFadden of Mt. Morris, Mich.; four brothers, Eugene Handcock of Anoka, Minn., Eddie Handcock of Pueblo, Colo., and John Handcock and Clarence Handcock, both of St. Louis, Mo.; 13 grandchildren and one great-grandchild. Visitation services for Mr. Handcock will be held Friday, Aug. 9, 2002, from 10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the Chapel of Woodhouse Mortuary. Funeral services for Mr. Handcock will be held Saturday, Aug. 10, 2002, at 11 a.m. at Elcannon Baptist Church with Rev. Albert McKinneyofficiating. Burial will follow in Clark Cemetery under the direction of Woodhouse Mortuary."21

Stats

Minor League Statistics at Baseball-Reference.com.