Sol White

Position: Second baseman; Manager
Teams include: New York Gorhams, Cuban Giants, Genuine Cuban Giants, Philadelphia Big Gorhams, Page Fence Giants, Cuban X-Giants, Columbia Giants, Philadelphia Giants, Brooklyn Royal Giants, New York Lincoln Giants, Columbus Buckeyes, Cleveland Browns, Newark Stars, 1889-1926

Sol White’s contributions to baseball (and not just Negro League baseball) rival those of some of the game’s other giants in their depth and variety, bringing to mind luminaries such as John Montgomery Ward and Albert Spalding.

Sol White's Official Baseball Guide provides insight into the racism of early baseball.
Sol White's Official Baseball Guide
provides insight into the racism
African-Americans had to face during
the early days of baseball.

Pioneer, player, team developer, manager, historian, and even league official were all among the hats that White wore during his long connection with the game. He was one of the last African-Americans to play in the integrated minor leagues in the 19th century, and he was still alive to see Jackie Robinson premier in the big leagues nearly 50 years later.

King Solomon (Sol) White (1868-1955) began his career as a speedy second baseman for one of the original members of the first Negro baseball league, but it folded shortly thereafter. White went on to a successful career with integrated minor league teams around the Midwest. In six years, he never batted less than .333, and his lifetime average is nearly .360. But segregation was closing doors to black players, and he became a star for a succession of barnstorming black teams. One of them went 100-4 in one season.

Historian John Holway described White’s nomadic behavior like this: “Almost every team he played on claimed the black World Championship, and each time the loser promptly stole White and won the flag itself the following year.”

In 1902, the intelligent and highly respected White helped Philadelphia sportswriter H. Walter Schlichter found the Philadelphia Giants. They were nothing less than the most successful black team in the first decade of the century, and White served as the club’s manager from 1902 through 1907. From 1902 through ’06, their overall record was a stunning 507-173.

While White was playing and managing, he found time to write Sol White’s Official Base Ball Guide, which covers the early years of African-Americans’ involvement in the game, from the 1885 organization of the first professional black baseball team through the ugly acts of discrimination and then the progress of “colored base ball” through 1906. It was a groundbreaking book.

After leaving the Giants (over what some say was a pay dispute with Schlichter), White managed the Brooklyn Royal Giants and New York Lincoln Giants for the next several years. After that, he spent eight years in a self-imposed exile, working on other ventures. But when the Negro National League was founded in 1920, Sol was hired as secretary of the league’s Columbus Buckeyes.

Four years later, he managed the Cleveland Browns when they entered the league. He also coached the Newark Stars in the Eastern Colored League in 1926. For the rest of his life, White wrote a regular column for the Amsterdam News in New York. He was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2006.

White’s statistics are unavailable.

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