Negro League Left Fielders

This post details the careers of a few Negro League left fielders that haven’t been inducted into the Hall of Fame.

Bernardo Baro was one of the most gifted Cuban athletes to star in the Negro Leagues.  He made his debut during the Deadball Era and excelled with a well-rounded game.  A toolsy player, Baro had all the natural talent to excel but a serious leg injury midway through his career sapped his speed.  Despite a loss of speed, Baro was one of the best average hitters in the Negro Leagues–he typically hit around .350 in his prime.  But Baro was often referred to as a violent man with no control of his emotions.  He died in 1930 while still an active player in his native Cuba.

A star of the Deadball Era, Jimmie Lyons played with numerous teams before World War I.  He served in France during the war and a couple years after his discharge he found a home with the American Giants.  He teamed with Spot Poles in the outfield for the American Giants and they were credited as the fastest outfield duo in the Negro Leagues.  Lyons, who led the league in stolen bases on occasion, was a very aggressive base runner who took the extra base with little effort.

A star with the legendary Homestead Grays, Vic Harris was their left fielder throughout the late 1920s and early 1930s and later managed the club.  Although a good player, Harris is best remembered as the skipper that won nine consecutive pennants (1937 to 1945) with the club.  A spray-hitter with limited power, Harris is credited with a career .299 batting average.  Never one to be pushed around, Harris was often called “Vicious Vic” for his tough exterior, but despite his mean streak, or perhaps because of it, he was one of the most successful managers in baseball history.

 image of Vic Harris

A legend in his native Dominican Republic, Tetelo Vargas was a swift outfielder who could hit for both average and power.  An All-Star during the 1940s, Vargas batted in the heart-of-the-order with the Cuban Stars of New York.  The right-handed hitter was a terrific ballhawk who played baseball all year round.  When the Negro League season ended, he went back home and played in the Dominican.  He was still playing in his mid 40s south of the border in the Mexican League after the Negro Leagues folded.

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