Leaguer of the Month
Joseph "Gentry" Jessup
Born: July 4, 1914 in Mount Airy, NC
Died: March 26, 1998 in Springfield, MA
Ht:6'-0", Wt: 175
Batted right and threw right
Teams: Birmingham Black Barons, Chicago American
Giants, Carman Cardinals, Almanaque (Cuba), Panama
solid hitter and great pitcher, Gentry Jessup was one of the
top Negro Leaguer pitchers in the late 1940s.
in Mount Airy, North Carolina, the hometown of actor Andy Griffith
and the town on which Mayberry was based, Jessup played semipro
ball with the Winston-Salem Pond Giants, before making the
big time with the Birmingham Black Barons in 1940.
moved to the Chicago American Giants in 1941, and played with
them through the end of the decade.
tall, lean hard-throwing righty, who walked and struck out
many, Jessup represented the American Giants in five East-West
only three runs on nine hits in 14-2/3 innings, posting a 1.84
ERA. Jessup was also chosen by Satchel Paige in '46 to barnstorm
with his All-Stars against Bob Feller's Major League stars.
Jessup was apparently never on a pitch count while in the Negro
Leagues, and in one game pitched all 20 innings of a game that
ended in a tie due to darkness.
the Negro Leagues struggled after the Major Leagues integrated,
Jessup traveled north to play in the Manitoba-Dakota League.
pitched for the Carman Cardinals in 1950, '51 and '52, batting
.278 with a 10-4 record in '50, .298 with
record in '51, and .324 with a 8-8 record in '52; he belted
one homer in each season. The Man-Dak was a great semipro league,
considered by some experts to be as good as Double or Triple-A
in the Minors, and in '50 Jessup was considered by many to
be the best pitcher in the league.
pitched one winter in Panama, and several seasons in Cuba,
and was inducted into the Cuban Baseball Hall of Fame in 1998.