Dave Hoskins

"I received three letters that morning, one at a time. First one said I'd be shot if I sat in the dugout. Second one said I'd be shot if I went on the field, and the third one said I'd be shot if I took the mound. I figured all three were from the same person. Probably someone just trying to scare me. I didn't tell Dutch Meyer, the manager of our club, because I was afraid he wouldn't let me start. Even though I thought the person who sent the letters was only bluffing, I was a little scared when I went out to the mound. Later on, I didn't even think about it and it was just another ball game. We won it without any trouble . . . . The people treated me very nice in Dallas and everywhere else, too. Once in a while a ballplayer or a fan would holler something at me, but you've got to expect that. All in all, I had no complaints."#
--Dave Hoskins while playing for the Dallas Eagles in the Texas (Minor) League
#from "Brushing Back Jim Crow:
The Integration of Minor-League Baseball in the American South" by Bruce Adelson (click to order book)

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Negro Leaguer of the Month
August, 2005

Dave Hoskins
Born: August 4, 1925 in Greenwood, Mississippi
Died: April 2, 1970 in Flint, Michigan
HT: 6’-2”; WT: 180
Batted: left; Threw: right
Positions: pitcher, outfield
Years played: 1942-1960
Teams; Indianapolis Clowns, Chicago American Giants, Homestead Grays, Louisville Buckeyes, Mexico, Cleveland Indians (Major Leagues)

Dave Hoskins is a fascinating player because he was a dominant outfielder in the Negro Leagues, but made it to the Major Leagues as a pitcher.

Hoskins was born in Greenwood, Mississippi, but moved to Flint, Michigan when he was 11, and made his name by dominating the Flint City League as a teenager by posting averages of .438, .395,.350 and .412 in four seasons. His outstanding hitting and outfield play drew the attention of the Ethiopian Clowns, who signed him to his first Negro League contract in 1942. Hoskins was a good right handed pitcher on a Clowns' staff with Roosevelt Davis.

Hoskins greatest fame in the Negro Leagues came with the Homestead Grays. Hoskins joined the Grays in 1944, mainly as a pitcher, but he hit so well that he was switched to the outfield and only had two pitching decisions that season (he won both of them). Hoskins batted around .350 on the year and became a full-fledged member of the Grays murderer's row which included Buck Leonard, Josh Gibson, Sam Bankhead and Jerry Benjamin. In 1945, Hoskins was arguably the Grays' best pitcher, and still batted in the heart of the lineup.

In 1947, Hoskins returned to Flint to play for an All-Star team against the Major Leagues' Detroit Tigers, and Hoskins collected three hits, and in 1948, Hoskins entered Organized Baseball when he was signed by Grand Rapids Jets of the Class A Central League, where he played outfield and nearly batted .400!

In 1949, Hoskins returned to the Negro Leagues where he joined the Louisville Buckeyes and made the East-West All-Star game, pinch hitting once during the game, but at the end of the season he said good-bye to the Negro Leagues for good.

From 1950-1952, Hoskins played with several Minor League teams, and posted some impressive statistics, despite dividing his time between the mound and outfield; In '50 he went 0-2 but batted .318, in '51 he went 5-1 and batted .286, in '52 he went 22-10 and batted .328 for the Dallas Eagles--the first black player in Texas League history.

In 1953, Hoskins was signed by the Cleveland Indians; he was 9-3 on the mound, and was the top-hitting pitcher on the team, batting .259 with two doubles and one homer. Hoskins was 0-1 in '54 and ended his Major League career with a 9-4 record, 3.81 ERA and .227 average.

Hoskins resumed his Minor League career and became one of the most popular player in Texas League history. In '58 Hoskins was 17-8 for Dallas and was described in local papers as "magical," "magnificent," and "phenomenal."

After the '60 season, Hoskins retired at age 35.

Hoskins died in 1970, and was survived by his wife Cora, and daughters Ruchelle, Lynda and Carolyn.

Hoskins was elected to the Greater Flint Afro-American Hall of Fame in 1983.

*some information compiled from the Flint Public Library

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