Crush Holloway

"My hero was Ty Cobb. That's
why I ran bases like I did."

--Crush Holloway in "Voice from the Great Black Baseball Leagues," by John Holway

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Negro Leaguer of the Month

March, 2008

Crush Holloway

Born: Sept. 16, 1896 in Hillsboro, TX
Died: 1972
Ht:5'-11-1/2", Wt: 180
Batted both, and threw right
Position: outfield
Playing Years: 1921-39
Teams: Indianapolis ABCs, Baltimore Black Sox, Hilldale Daisies, Detroit Stars, New York Black Yankees, Atlantic City Bacharachs, Brooklyn Eagles, Baltimore Elite Giants

Crush wasn't a nickname! Holloway's dad witnessed a "crash," which was an unusual event in which two trains, with no one aboard, were purposely rammed into each other for entertainment. Soon after, when his wife gave birth, Papa Holloway named his son Crush, and the name was appropriate!

Crush grew up on a farm in Waco, Texas, and played baseball with home-made equipment until he was good enough, and old enough (21), to go on his own and pursue a baseball career.

Crush's first team was the San Atone Black Aces in a black version of the minor league's Texas League, where he played with Hall of Famer Biz Mackey and Highpockets Hudspeth, both of whom became Negro League stars.

In 1920, Holloway made the big time with the Negro National League's Indianapolis ABCs. Holloway always gave credit to ABC manager C.I. Taylor for making him into a great professional player.

The ABCs had one of the best outfields of the day, with Holloway in right field, Namon Washington in left, and Oscar Charleston in center.

Holloway usually batted in the lead-off position, was a consistent .300 hitter, but wasn't a power-hitter. So why was the name "Crush" so appropriate?

Crush filed his spikes until they were sharp as knives, and built a reputation as the hardest and nastiest slider in the Negro Leagues.

If there was a close play at any base, Holloway was going to hurt someone with his sliding!

If a catcher tried to block the plate, Holloway would undress him!

While catching, Double Duty Radcliffe remembered barely avoiding an injury following a Holloway slide on a play at home. The next time Radcliffe faced Holloway while pitching, he threw at Crush's head in an effort to pay him back!

Holloway was an excellent bunter, was able to drag the ball past pitchers while batting left-handed, and could push the ball down the third base line while batting right-handed.

In 1935, Holloway, nearing the end of his career, played with Radcliffe on the Brooklyn Eagles, which also featured stars Leon Day and Ed Stone.


(some information from The Biographical Encyclopedia of the Negro Baseball Leagues)

(*Some information from