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Negro Leaguer of the Month
Clarence "Dude" Lytle
Clarence Lytle was one of the best black pitchers born in the 19th century, combining good speed, a variety of curves and tremendous control.
Lytle had several stints with the Chicago Union Giants, first suiting up for them in 1899 where his teammates included Homerun Johnson, one of baseball's earliest sluggers.
In 1902 Lytle played briefly with the Algona (Iowa) Brownies, a top independent team that also featured top pitchers Bill Holland, Bronco Jones, and star catcher Chappie Johnson.
In 1906 Lytle joined the Chicago Leland Giants, joining a pitching staff that featured Hall of Famer Rube Foster. It was reported many times during '06 that Foster would pitch three games during a five game series, and most teams of that era could survive a 150-game schedule with only two or three top pitchers.
In 1907 Lytle signed with the St. Paul Gophers and he pitched for them in '07, '08 and '11, going a combined 52-16 with an ERA under 3.00; in 604 innings he allowed 337 hits, 143 Ks and only 68 walks*, with a no-hitter in '07. At bat, Lytle was dangerous, batting above .200 with home run power, and he often played outfield while not on the mound. The '11 Gophers also featured spitballer Dicata Johnson.
In 1909 Lytle again played with the Union Giants, who dominated semipro competition in the Midewest. During one 66-game stretch, the Union Giants went 56-10 with Lytle going 12-1 during that stint with two no-hitters, both against the Rockford, Illinois Semipros.
Lytle retired from baseball after the 1911 season, and after he sold some land he owned in Montana to a Chicago businessman he lived in Chicago until he died in 1937.
*Stats from "Black Baseball in Minnesota" by Todd Peterson