Monarchs Talk is a 'Grand Slam' for Historical Society
By Brittany Tutt, C-T
October 16, 2014

The program at the quarterly meeting of the Grand River Historical Society Museum Tuesday evening consisted of a presentation by Phil Dixon on the Negro Baseball Leagues. Dixon has been researching the Negro Leagues for more than 35 years and has published nine books on the topic. On Tuesday, Dixon talked about the Negro League Baseball Museum in Kansas City and about the Monarchs visiting Chillicothe and playing the Chillicothe Chiefs on July 19, 1964. The line-up for the Monarchs at that time was Smith, Bob Simmons, Barnes, Hardwick, Evans, Morez, Daster, C. Jones, R. Jones and O'Dell Daniels. The line-up for the Chillicothe Chiefs included Hoyt, Chet Cousin, Hicks, Lloyd Swift, Grimes, Tom Hightower, Rinehart, Conrad, Burkey, Leonard Langwell, Gary Ewing and Pryor. The Chillicothe Chiefs got creamed by the Monarchs 17 to 0 that day. (CT Photo)

The famous Monarchs player, Satchel Paige, played in Chillicothe at least twice. Once was in 1950 when he was an exhibition pitcher for a game between Chillicothe and Galt. That game drew a crowd of nearly 1,000 people. Among members of the Chillicothe team at that time: Marion Godwin, Moose Allen, Lloyd Machholz, Bud Elam, Bill Coleman, Bob Saale, Bill Tompkins, Don Morrison, and Henry and Charles Stickler. It was reported that Paige only had one hit that game, which soared down the left field foul line and resulted in a double for the famous Monarch. It was also reported in a Constitution-Tribune article on that game that "Paige's performance was merely that of a barnstormer, not too much work, but still good entertainment. His ability to mix his pitches with a variety of fast and curve balls and the famous 'hesitation' pitch, was just too much for the opposing batters." Paige pitched four innings in that game for Chillicothe and was relieved by Hilton Smith, a former Monarch player. (Both Paige and Smith are in the National Baseball Hall of Fame). The local Chillicothe team beat Galt 3 to 0.

Paige also made an appearance in Chillicothe when the Monarchs played the Detroit Stars in 1961. A crowd of about 350 people showed up to watch that game, and the Monarchs defeated the Stars 12 to 6. Paige made a two-inning mound appearance. This game was a benefit game for the Summer Playground Association - all proceeds of the game went towards helping finance the summer league program.

(Phil Dixon Photo)

Dixon said he had people come up to him after his presentation on Tuesday and say they remembered going to that game. Dixon said the atmosphere for the Monarchs at the time was great; the Monarchs often drew crowds of 1,000 or more people even without Paige playing. The Monarchs also came to Chillicothe to play the New York Cubans in 1949, the New Orleans Flyers in 1951, the Indianapolis Clowns in 1951, the Kansas City Giants in 1960, the Non-Pro All-Stars in 1963 and an unknown team in 1964. According to Dixon, one of the earliest African-American teams to make Chillicothe a frequent stop was Walter Brown's Tennessee Rats. However, the Tennessee Rats didn't come from Tennessee; they originated out of Holden, Mo. The Rats played the Chillicothe Athletics on September 2, 1917 and the Chillicothe Elks on October 2, 1920 and October 15, 1922.

Dixon is currently on a 90-city tour; his destinations consist of cities where the Monarchs had played. He just recently gave his presentation to about 500 people in Indianapolis. This Sunday, he will give a presentation in Hannibal, and then Tuesday, he will give presentations to two cities in Kansas. He began this tour last fall and is about 30 cities into it. The audience at the Chillicothe Elk's Lodge on Tuesday thoroughly enjoyed Dixon's presentation, as many of them came up to him, shook his hand and told him how well he did after the presentation was finished. Dixon not only shared a lot of interesting facts with the audience, he delivered his information very creatively, even using poetry at times. Dixon said he had a wonderful time visiting Chillicothe and hopes to return soon.

Posted to Phil Dixon's Facebook page on October 16, 2014...
"Through some great detective work, after my visit Chillicothe, some local people found a game where Satchel Paige and Hilton Smith appeared in Chillicothe as pitchers for hire. Oh, how I wish I had that information for my talk. Two Hall of Famers in Chillicothe and I missed the opportunity to include this information in my speech. I always find something new after every visit. Simply Amazing! The 90 city Negro League tour continues..."

Posted to Phil Dixon's Facebook page October 14, 2014...
"What a time my wife and I had in Chillicothe, Missouri tonight, and what a nice size crowd for a Tuesday night when the Royals are in the play-offs. Thanks to Pam Clingerman and Marvin Holtzer, and the entire Board of Directors of the Grand River Historical Society Museum for allowing me to speak to such a fantastic audience. The dinner was fabulous before my talk. My complements to the chefs! While speaking, I told of games played locally at South Field and Simpson Park by Water Brown's Tennessee Rats, Kansas City's Monarchs, the New York Cubans, the Indianapolis Clowns, Detroit's Stars, and of course, Leroy Satchel Paige. I also gave recognition to 1890's star Vasco Graham a catcher for the Page Fence Giants. Graham is from Chillicothe. Best words of the night were written back on August 4, 1961 by Harverna Woodling of the Chillicothe Constitution-Tribune after she watched a Kansas City Monarchs vs. Detroit Stars game with Paige making an appearance. She wrote: "We saw dozens of little guys in baseball caps admiring those players and living for the day when they could be out there playing clean and hard. As long as thousands of us love to go to a ball game and yell our hearts out; as long as vast numbers of Americans believe in clean sports, fair play and a chance for everyone, we believe the United States will come through all right. Don't you?" I agree with her and happily repeated her words 53 years later in the town where she wrote them. Thanks everyone for a wonderful stop of the 90 city Negro League tour. Go Royals!"

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