Sunday, January 18, 2009

"Smokey Joe" Williams

Shortly after moving to Seguin, there was an article in the Seguin Gazette-Enterprise about a "Smokey Joe" Williams Scholarship Fundraiser. I mentioned to my husband: "This might be interesting." I had never heard of "Smokey Joe" and knew very little about the Negro Baseball League.
Well, we didn't attend that year, nor the next few years. Think that the first one we went to was in 2004 and believe me: it IS interesting.
There are baseball players who come from all over the country to pay tribute to the memory of "Smokey Joe" Williams and who care about the education of the youth. The baseball stories these players tell are fascinating. I believe that former City Manager Jack Hamlett and former Seguin Library Director Mark Gretchen were instrumental in the beginnings of this event. And how thankful Seguinites are! There is an upcoming talk in February at the library that will given by Mark Gretchen pertaining to his research on "Smokey Joe" and the Williams family of Seguin.
Mark (a thorough and exacting researcher) has done extensive research and I'm looking forward to hearing his talk.
The following is an excerpt from the Kansas City American, August 7, 1930

Homesteads Take Three from Kay See
"Smokey Joe" Williams Is Too Much for Local Aggregation
Cudahy Rex Defeats K.C. Allies 20-3

The Pittsburgh Grays, with their pitching "ace," Smokey Joe Williams, mowing down Monarch batters about as fast as they appeared at the plate, won their second straight night game from the 1929 Negro National League champions last night at Muehlebach Field, 1-0, in a great pitchers' duel.

"Smokey Joe" had everything except a blacksmith's file. Chet Brewer, the Monarch mound entry was about as effective but a fluke 2-base hit by White, Pittsburgh center fielder, with the walking Charleston on second, sent the Monarchs down to defeat in the twelfth.

The opposing pitchers were cheating without question of a doubt. An emery ball in daylight is very deceptive but at night it is about as easy to see as an insect in the sky.