Leaguer of the Month
Position: pitcher, catcher, utility
Batted: Right; Threw: Right
Height: 5 ’-8”, Wt. 180
Born: July 6, 1895 in Lexington, Kentucky
Died: February 13, 1972 in Winter Park, Florida
Teams: Madison Stars, Dayton Marcos, Columbus Buckeyes, Harrisburg Giants, Baltimore Black Sox, Philadelphia Royal Giants,
Homestead Grays, Hilldale Daisies, Detroit Wolves, Newark Dodgers,
Columbus Elite Giants, Washington Elite Giants, Baltimore Elite Giants,
Brooklyn Royal Giants, Jacksonville Red Caps, Chicago American Giants,
Cincinnati Buckeyes, Cleveland Buckeyes, New Orleans Black Pelicans
Though Ted "Double Duty" Radcliffe is the Negro Leagues' greatest
pitcher-catcher, George Britt was probably second best and they were
similar in many ways. Britt was stocky, Radcliffe was stockier; Britt
played for 27 years, Radcliffe 36; Britt played for 12 teams, Radcliffe
more than 30. The biggest difference? While Radcliffe was a lover, Britt
was a fighter, and was one of the most feared brawlers in the Negro Leagues!
Britt was born in 1895, seven years before Radcliffe, and started his
career as a pitcher on the sandlots of Kentucky and Cincinnati, Ohio.
After several years of semipro ball, Britt joined the Indianapolis ABCs in
1917, joining Hall of Famer Oscar Charleston and the three Taylor Brothers, C.I., Ben and Candy Jim. Britt was a .500 pitcher in his early years in the Negro Leagues with teams such as the Dayton Marcos, Columbus Buckeyes and Baltimore Black Sox, and he usually batted around .250.
According to legend, when Britt played for a team coached by Chappie
Johnson, a star catcher in the late 1890s and early 1900s, Johnson taught Britt how to catch, and he performed "double duty" for the rest of his career.
Britt gained his greatest fame when he played for the Homestead Grays from 1926-33. During his years with the Grays, Britt won more than he lost on the mound, batted in the .280-.290 range, and became part of what was known as "the four big bad men" of black baseball, along with Oscar Charleston, Jud Wilson and Vic Harris. Though all four men would fight at the drop of a hat, Britt was the most feared and one teammate remarked that "he could whip the whole club."
While with the Grays in 1930 and '31, Britt rarely caught as standouts Josh Gibson and Double Duty Radcliffe did most of the work behind the plate.
In 1933, Britt was chosen to play in the first East-West All-Star game,
allowed one run in two innings on the mound, and hit safely in his lone
trip to the plate.
Britt played with a variety of teams after leaving the Grays after the '33 season, but he continued to be an effective utility man into his 50s.
Britt, who was nicknamed "Chippy" because that's what he called others, finished his career with the New Orleans Black Pelicans in 1945, then worked at a night club until retiring to Jacksonville, Florida.