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All Time Lists: 20 Greatest Players of the Negro Leagues

Greatest Negro Leagues team in history? 1932 Pittsburgh Crawfords. Standing: Benny Jones, L.D. Livingston, Satchel Paige*, Josh Gibson*, Ray Williams, Walter Cannady, Cy Perkins, Oscar Charleston*. Kneeling: Sam Streeter, Chester Williams, Harry Williams, Harry Kincannon, Henry Spearman, Jimmie Crutchfield, Bobby Williams, Ted "Double Duty" Radcliffe. (*Hall of Fame)
John Henry Lloyd plaque in the National Baseball Hall of Fame
(Photo Credit: Penale52) John Henry Lloyd plaque in the National Baseball Hall of Fame

Pop Lloyd, Shortstop

John Henry “Pop” Lloyd (April 25, 1884 – March 19, 1964) was born to slaves in Palatka, Florida, and raised by his grandmother in Jacksonville. He began playing in 1905 with the Acmes of Macon, Georgia, and was signed by the Cuban X Giants in 1906. There he was nicknamed by his Cuban teammates as “El Cuchara”, or “The Shovel”, for his ability to field batted balls. However, in 1907 his contract was purchased by the Philadelphia Giants, and he was moved to shortstop.

After a brief stint with the Chicago Leland Giants, Lloyd returned to the newly organized Lincoln Giants, batting .475 against all competition. He played around the league, with the New York Lincoln Stars and the Chicago American Giants, and by 1919 was with the Bacharach Giants in Atlantic City, NJ.

He helped to start the Columbus Buckeyes in the Negro National League in 1921, and then the Hilldale Club in the Eastern Colored League in 1923. Although he brought the team to the first ECL pennant with a 32-17 record, he didn’t get along with league president Ed Bolden and was fired. He returned to manager the Bacharach Giants for several years, and then from 1926 to 1929 he was a player/manager with the Lincoln Giants, He retired to Atlantic city, with a lifetime average between .337 and .343, depending on records. He continued as a player/coach for the semi-pro Atlantic City Johnson Stars until 1942, and then a popular coach in a youth baseball league, He died there in 1964. He was posthumously indicted into the Baseball Hall of Famer in 1977 and the New Jersey Hall of Fame in 2014.

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