Luther Gilyard

Luther Gilyard Jr. (Little Sox, Socks), born February 20th, 1910 in Fort Smith, AR,1 was a Negro League baseball player from about 1927-1942. He was the brother of Claude Gilyard.


Gilyard, the son of Luther Gilyard Sr. and Pearl (nee White) Gilyard, was a native of Fort Smith, AR.2

Standing only 5'6" tall, Gilyard was a notably short first baseman who threw righthanded and batted lefthanded. He had a fairly lengthy career in Negro baseball with several stints at the major league level. The majority of his career, however, was played at the lower independent levels in Oklahoma and the midwest, often with his brother Claude Gilyard as a teammate. He began playing professionally as early as age 17 with the Oklahoma Giants3 of Tulsa, OK in 1927.4 Among other teams he played with during the early part of his career include the Wichita Yellowjackets5 and Scotts Giants of Des Moines, IA in 1928,6 the Tulsa Black Oilers in 1929 and 1931,7 8 and the Michigan Wolverines9 and Holdrege, NE in 1930.10 He also in several semi-pro tournaments, including with a team billed as the Topeka Dodgers in the 1934 Wichita, KS tournament,11 the Sioux City Ghosts in the 1934 Council Bluffs, IA tournament,12 13 and the Denver Monarchs14 in the 1936 Denver Post tournament.15 16 After moving to Muskogee, OK in the 1930s, Gilyard was also with the Muskogee Cardinals for multiple seasons.17 18

Gilyard played parts of four seasons in the Negro American League. His major league debut came in 1937 with the St. Louis Stars. He hit well for St. Louis and was shifted to the Chicago American Giants by June.19 On August 1st, Gilyard participated in fielding a triple play.20 Gilyard returned to played parts of the 1938 and 1939 seasons with Chicago. From there, Gilyard went on midwestern barnstorming tours with a team billed as the New Orleans Crescents Stars in 193921 and the Satchel Paige All-Stars, an affiliate of the Kansas City Monarchs, in 1940. In 1942, he returned the majors with the Birmingham Black Barons. His career was seemingly ended in July when he joined the military.22 23

Gilyard died in September 20, 1976 in Detroit, MI.24 25



Statistics at Baseball-Reference.com.

Statistics at Seamheads.com.

3 Also known as the Tulsa Black Giants.
8 San Antonio Light, 4/19/1931
11 The Negro Star (Wichita, KS), 7/27/1934
14 Also known as the Denver White Elephants.
23 "United States World War II Army Enlistment Records, 1938-1946," database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:K8P5-VMF : 5 December 2014), Luther Jr Gilyard, enlisted 11 Jul 1942, Tulsa, Oklahoma, United States; citing "Electronic Army Serial Number Merged File, ca. 1938-1946," database, The National Archives: Access to Archival Databases (AAD) (http://aad.archives.gov : National Archives and Records Administration, 2002); NARA NAID 1263923, National Archives at College Park, Maryland.
25 "Michigan Death Index, 1971-1996", database, FamilySearch (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:VZ1H-B6X : 10 August 2022), Luther Gilyard Jr, 1976.