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Friday, February 2 • 9:00am - 9:45am
How Statistics Have Improved the Legacy Restoration of Blackball's Greatest Left-handed Pitcher

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Barnstorming baseball during the segregated era knows no greater name than John Wesley Donaldson.

Identified by historical accounts as a “wonder,” possessing major league quality abilities, there seems to be little doubt about his impact. Coveted by owners and managers of big league ballclubs from Chicago’s Southside to Beantown, and still others who personnally witnessed his talent as having no equal within oroutside the organized baseball leagues. It was said he had better stuff than Walter Johnson, Satchel Paige or Christy Mathewson. But what made John Donaldson absolutely unique was his black skin, his devastating left-handed delivery and the impossibility of ever being given the opportunity every modern day ballplayer dreams of.

Donaldson’s comparisions cross-over from the foggy realm of the legendary to the real, concrete facts of the segregated era. Organized baseball was white! Why is the truth of John Donaldson’s legacy so difficult for people to grasp? John Donaldson left historians no clear path to follow while attempting to judge his significance. It was believed the proof of Donaldson skills were too far scattered like seeds in the remote plains of the Midwest, best kept somewhere else, incomplete and somehow impossible to bring to the table. Leaving the lines of Donaldson’s legacy blurred by time and space.

The Donadson Network has gone about the task of locating and documenting the existance of over 670 known pitching appearances. The numbers come from the thousands of games Donaldson appeared in.

In fact, more than 25 states can say without doubt that John Donaldson played in their backyard, each are represented in the fabric of his 33-plus year career. His resume as a proven 400-game winner, a nonapoligetic Jim Crow casuality and the first full-time black scout in Major League Baseball leave little ambiguity as to where his legacy belongs.

This presentation will explore how Donaldson’s legacy restoration can be explained by careful examination of three main concentration areas of telling his unparalled story:

  • Statistical Analysis: Without segregation, great negro league ballplayers would have been great major league ballplayers.
  • Physical Ability: John Donaldson’s story as “The Greatest Colored Pitcher in the World.”
  • Legacy Restoration: “Don’t let history rob him of legacy... again.”

The Donaldson Network has worked tirelessly for more than 17-years with the purpose of telling John Donaldson’s story to all who will listen. We have learned over the years there are no shortcuts to legacy restoration especially in the segregated era. Absolute truth will triumph over fragmentted legend and we intend to showcase the truth about what made John Donaldson great. Even if sometimes it might seem hard to believe.

avatar for Peter Gorton

Peter Gorton

Founder, The Donaldson Network
Pete Gorton is the founder of The Donaldson Network a group of over 500 authors, researchers andhistorians dedicated to the rediscovery of the lost legacy of John Wesley Donaldson. The Center for Negro Leagues Baseball Research called The Donaldson Network, “The most extensive research... Read More →

Friday February 2, 2018 9:00am - 9:45am CST
Room 6