Relegated to less-than-glamorous venues, Negro League players were obscured in terms of talent and personality. One can only imagine the storied antics of the performers listed in this rare 1915 Cuban Giants program. Issued in Greenville, PA for a July exhibition, the 28-page guide has unmarked scoring grids whose pre-printed lineups feature Giants shortstop Chick Meade, a white player who passed as a Negro for nine years! With covers and all pages intact, the guide has compacting folds and a small piece missing from the back cover. More on our website.
Appealing enough in that Cuban Giants souvenirs (especially those from this era) are fleeting, this program lists the names of characters whose outrageous exploits are the stuff of legend. As for Meade (misspelled “Meed” on the printed scorecard), he passed himself off as a light-skinned black man and played for at least seven different teams in the Independent Negro League from 1914 to 1922. Despite a .140 career batting average with only one home run, Meade managed to find suitor after suitor. It wasn’t until long after his “playing” career that his secret was revealed. Imprisoned for writing bad checks, Meade was listed as “Caucasian” in the correctional facility.
Also in the Cuban Giants lineup was right fielder Harry Leavell, who, by many accounts, was married to at least two women simultaneously.