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(photo owned by Lil Lowe, from attheplate.com)

"'You know Josh Gibson hit a ball so hard that when it hit the outfield wall, it ricocheted back to second base,” Vasquez said. His laughter was full of admiration and a residue of disbelief.
“The ball came right back to me,' he said."


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Negro Leaguer of the Month

Negro Leaguer of the Month

July, 2014
Armando Vasquez (aka Bus Quinn)
Born: August 20, 1923 in Guines, Cuba
Died: March 16, 2008 in New York City
HT: 5’-8”, WT: 165
Positions: first base, outfield, pitcher
Teams: Cincinnati-Indianapolis Clowns, Cincinnati Clowns, Indianapolis Clowns, Mexico City Tigers, Hawaiian LaPalomas, Brandon Greys, New York Cubans, Texas City Pilots, Cuba
Years: 1944-1955

Armando Vasquez was a versatile crackerjack of a ballplayer, excelling at batting, pitching, fielding and hustling!

Born in Cuba, Vasquez idolized fellow Cuban Martin Dihigo, and, after playing several years in his home country, followed Dihigo’s lead and ventured to the United States to play in the Negro Leagues.

Vasquez debuted in the Negro Leagues as a 21-year-old with the 1944 Cincinnati-Indianpolis Clowns, the second year the Clowns were in the Negro American League (they had been an independent team prior). Vasquez’s teammates on the Clowns included veteran stars Alec Radcliffe, Buster Haywood, Pepper Bassett and Speed Merchant. Vasquez, a left-handed hitter and thrower, played mostly in the outfield, and didn’t see much action in league games, batting .242 with one homer in 10 games.

After another season with the Clowns, Vasquez joined the New York Cubans in ‘46 where he joined fellow Cubans Minnie Minoso, Luis Tiant, Francisco Coimbre and Rogelio Linares, along with Panamanian Pat Scantlebury and Americans Barney Morris and Showboat Thomas

In ‘47, the Cubans went 42-16 in league play and beat the Cleveland Buckeyes in the Negro League World Series, with pitchers Tiant (10-0 in league play), Scantlebury and Dave Barnhill leading the way. Vasquez didn’t have an impact on the series as he was used sparingly, but he did bat over .300 in league and non-league play during the regular season.

After starting the ‘48 season with the Cubans, Vasquez jumped to the Brandon Greys of Canada’s Manitoba Senior League, changed his name to Bus Quinn, and led all pitchers with a 7-0 record with five complete games in league play, and a 10-1 record with nine complete games in all games (including exhibitions). Vasquez also played outfield and collected four hits in his first game. The batting champion of the league, by the way, was future NHL Hall of Fame goalie Terry Sawchuck who batted .376.

In 1949, Vasquez returned to the Clowns where he became a star as an outfielder and first baseman, as well as a fine pitcher. Vasquez, a line-drive hitter with great bunting skills and speed, much like modern day Major Leaguer Brett Butler, was mostly a singles hitter, but occasionally hit a gap and legged out an inside-the-parker. Vasquez played first base many times in 1952 when the Clowns featured a hard-hitting scatter-armed shortstop named Henry Aaron.

In 1954, Vasquez played Minor League ball for the Texas City Pilots of the Class C Evangeline League, batting .259 with eight doubles in 108 at bats, but at age 31 he was no longer a Major League prospect and he played one more season of pro ball, for the Mexico City Tigers, before retiring in New York.

In retirement, Vasquez supported Harlem Little League, and became a wonderful ambassador for the Negro Leagues.