Guide to the West Coast Negro Baseball Association Collection

Sean Heyliger
African American Museum and Library at Oakland
659 14th Street
Oakland, California 94612
Phone: (510) 637-0198
Fax: (510) 637-0204
Email: aamlo@oaklandlibrary.org
URL: http://www.oaklandlibrary.org/locations/african-american-museum-library-oakland
© 2013
African American Museum and Library at Oakland. All rights reserved.

Guide to the West Coast Negro Baseball Association Collection

Collection number: MS 17

African American Museum and Library at Oakland

Oakland, California
Processed by:
Sean Heyliger
Date Completed:
02/16/2013
Encoded by:
Sean Heyliger
© 2013 African American Museum and Library at Oakland. All rights reserved.

Descriptive Summary

Title: West Coast Negro Baseball Association collection
Dates: 1945-1949
Collection number: MS 17
Creator: Harris, Eddie
Collection Size: .75 linear feet (1 box)
Repository: African American Museum and Library at Oakland (Oakland, Calif.)
Oakland, CA 94612
Abstract: The West Coast Negro Baseball Association was formed on March 9, 1946 at a meeting of the High Marine Social Club at the Elks Clubhouse in Oakland, California. The baseball league was spearheaded by two Berkeley firemen, Eddie Harris and David P. Portlock, who pitched the idea of forming a Negro baseball league on the West Coast that would use Pacific Coast League parks while teams were away. The West Coast Negro Baseball Association Collection includes correspondence, meeting minutes, financial records, by-laws, photographs, and ephemera related to the creation and operation of the West Coast Negro Baseball Association and the Oakland Larks.
Languages: Languages represented in the collection: English

Access

No access restrictions. Collection is open to the public.

Access Restrictions

Materials are for use in-library only, non-circulating.

Publication Rights

Permission to publish from the West Coast Negro Baseball Association Collection must be obtained from the African American Museum and Library at Oakland.

Preferred Citation

West Coast Negro Baseball Association collection, MS 17, African American Museum and Library at Oakland, Oakland Public Library. Oakland, California.

Acquisition Information

Collection was donated by Leona M. Brown to the Center for Afro-American History and Life.

Biography / Administrative History

The West Coast Negro Baseball Association was formed on March 9, 1946 at a meeting of the High Marine Social Club at the Elks Clubhouse in Oakland, California. The baseball league was spearheaded by two Berkeley firemen, Eddie Harris and David P. Portlock, who pitched the idea of forming a Negro baseball league on the West Coast that would use Pacific Coast League parks while teams were away. Abe Saperstein, founder of the Harlem Globetrotters, was elected president of the association with track star Jessie Owens serving as vice-president, and David Portlock as secretary. The league consisted of six teams: San Francisco Sea Lions, Seattle Steelheads, Portland Rosebuds, Oakland Larks, San Diego Tigers, and Los Angeles White Sox. The league's first official game was between the Oakland Larks and the San Diego Tigers on May 12, 1946 at Fresno Midget Auto Racing Park. The league played only one season, disbanding after the final game in July, 1946, though the Oakland Larks baseball team would continue to play as a barnstorming club through 1947.

Scope and Content of Collection

The West Coast Negro Baseball Association Collection includes correspondence, meeting minutes, financial records, by-laws, photographs, and ephemera related to the creation and operation of the West Coast Negro Baseball Association and the Oakland Larks. The collection was assembled by Eddie Harris, co-founder of the West Coast Negro Baseball Association and business manager of the Oakland Larks, and a majority of the collection is correspondence and financial records related to the scheduling of venues and day-to-day operations of the Oakland Larks. Also included in the collection are game day programs, newspaper clippings, and photographs of baseball players on the Oakland Larks, and West Coast Negro Baseball Association by-laws, rules and regulations, and correspondence documenting the establishment of the baseball league.

Arrangement

Series I. West Coast Negro Baseball Association Series II. Oakland Larks Baseball Club Series III. Photographs

Indexing Terms

The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog.
West Coast Negro Baseball Association--History.
Oakland Larks (Baseball team)--History.
Baseball--California--History.
Negro leagues--History.

Other Finding Aids

Richard T. Dobbins Collection, Oakland Museum of California Charlotte Harris Papers, MS 16, African American Museum and Library at Oakland

Collection Contents

 

West Coast Negro Baseball Association

Physical Description: 6 folders

Series Scope and Content Summary

Includes the league's constitution, by-laws, meeting minutes, player contracts, correspondence, and regulations.

Arrangement

Arranged by format.
Box 1:1

By-laws undated

Box 1:2

Meeting minutes 1945

Box 1:3

League regulations undated

Box 1:4

Contract forms [blank] undated

Box 1:5

Correspondence 1945-1947

Box 1:6

Baseball cartoon sketch, C. Dupree, cartoonist for M.O. Magazine 1946

 

Oakland Larks Baseball Club

Physical Description: 22 folders

Series Scope and Content Summary

Includes correspondence documenting club business activities, mostly related to scheduling games. Also included are telegrams, financial records, press releases, club rosters, player contracts, and newspaper clippings.

Arrangement

Arranged by format.
 

Correspondence

Box 1:7

Baseball association and other clubs 1947-1948

Box 1:8

Klingman, V.R. 1947

Box 1:28

Pascale, Mat 1947

Box 1:9

Players 1945-1949

Box 1:10

Rathbun, Guy L. 1946-1947

Box 1:11

Saperstein, Abe M. 1946-1948

Box 1:12

Sports Enterprises 1947

Box 1:13

Taylor, Walter 1947

Box 1:14

West, James 1946

Box 1:15

Witte, H. 1946

Box 1:16

Telegrams 1946-1947

 

Financial records

Box 1:17

Deposit receipts 1946

Box 1:17

Daily statement of admissions 1946

Box 1:18

Ledgers [includes meeting minutes] 1945-1946

Box 1:19

Invoices 1946-1947

Box 1:20

Press releases undated

Box 1:21

Window cards [players and Oakland Larks logo] undated

Box 1:22

Rosters and scorecards 1946

Box 1:23

Schedules 1947-1948

Box 1:24

Contracts 1947

Box 1:25

Newspaper clippings 1946-1947

Box 1:26

Business cards and letterhead [blank] undated

Box 1:27

Complementary game pass undated

 

Photographs

Physical Description: 2 folders

Series Scope and Content Summary

Includes 21 photographs of players of the Oakland Larks Baseball Club.

Arrangement

Arranged by photo accession number.
Box 2:1

Oakland Larks player Johnny Allen throwing [7 copies] [001] circa 1946

Box 2:1

Oakland Larks players (left-right) unidentified, Milton Pool, Johnny Allen, Winston Auther [5 copies with negative] [002] circa 1946

Box 2:1

Three unidentified Oakland Larks players with automobiles in background [9 copies] [003] circa 1946

Box 2:1

Oakland Larks players (left-right) Speck Roberts, Joe Plate, and John Litzie [10 copies] [004] circa 1946

Box 2:1

Oakland Larks player Smiley Clayton [8 copies] [005] circa 1946

Box 2:2

Group photograph of Pierce Giants Baseball Club with fans in background [006] circa 1945

Box 2:2

Group photograph of California Eagles Baseball Club, pictured: Eddie Harris (2nd from right), Mike Redberry (top row, far left), Mel Reed (third from left), Ike Thompson (bottom row, far right) [007] undated

Box 2:2

Four unidentified men in suits, with one hold bat [008] undated

Box 2:2

Oakland Larks pitcher Ira Wells [009] circa 1946

Box 2:2

Meeting of the West Coast Negro Baseball Association, [?] [010-011] 1945-10-22

Box 2:2

Meeting of the West Coast Negro Baseball Association [?], Byron "Speed" O'Reilly (head of table), Ike Thompson (3rd from right), Theodore Rochon (5th from the right), Eddie Harris (6th from right), Dewey Portlock (7th from the right) [012] 1945-10-22

Box 2:2

Artie Wilson [?] swinging bat inscribed, Best wished to a dear friend Mr. and Mrs. Eddie Harris [013] undated

Box 2:2

Artie Wilson [?] holding bat inscribed, Yours in sport to a friend Mr. and Mrs. Eddie Harris 014] undated

Box 2:2

Sammy Workman signing card with two unidentified men [015] undated

Box 2:2

Sammy Workmand in Oakland Larks uniform [016] undated

Box 2:2

Group photograph of the Seattle Rainiers [017] 1953

Box 2:2

Group photograph of the Portland Beavers [2 copies] [018] 1953

Box 2:2

Group photograph of the High Marines Society Club [019] undated

Box 2:2

Joe Louis wearing boxing gloves and trunks [020] 1965

Box 2:2

Oakland Oaks player Artie Wilson [050] 1950

Box 2:2

Willie Mays portrait inscribed, Best wishes Willie Mays [051] undated

Box 2:2

Unidentified Oakland Larks player [052] circa 1946

Box 2:2

Remmie Renfroe catching groundball inscribed, To my fun friend Eddie Harris K.C. Monarchs 45-46-47 [053] circa 1940s

Box 2:2

Kansas City Monarchs player undated

Box 2:2

Walter McCoy, Ross Davis, and Neale Henderson 2005-10-07