Leaguer of the Month
Born: August 16, 1900 in Talladega, Alabama
Died: April 1976 in Los Angeles, CA
Ht:5'-11", Wt: 215
Batted right and threw right
Position: second base, third base, first base, outfield, manager
Teams: Montgomery Grey Sox, Pittsburgh Keystones, St. Louis
Giants, St. Louis Stars, New York Lincoln Giants, Homestead Grays,
Newark Stars, Baltimore Elite Giants, New York Black Yankees,
Philadelphia Stars, Birmingham Black Barons
few players in the history of baseball actually preferred hitting
curve balls over fastballs, but George Scales was one of those
rare players. Even the great curve ball pitchers of the Negro
Leagues (Hilton Smith, Ted Trent, Leon Day, Max Manning, Sug
Cornelius) would think twice before throwing a curve ball to
Scales in a clutch situation.
grew up in the baseball hotbed of Alabama, and was playing
for money at age 19 with the Montgomery Grey Sox, a team that
Willie Mays would play for 25 years later.
earned his nickname because of his heavy build, sometimes exceeding
225 pounds. He was, however, a fast base runner, and excelled
as a second baseman. He was known to have a great arm, and
was a wonder at turning double plays.
played for many teams in his 30+ years in the Negro Leagues,
but is remembered best as a member of the great Homestead Grays
teams of the 1920s and 30s.
fit right in with the 1931 Grays, thought to be the top Negro
League team in history, because of his talent and willingness
to fight. The Grays had several brawlers on the team: Scales,
Ted Page, George Britt, Oscar Charleston and Jud Wilson. Scales
and Page were roommates, and once got into a fistfight in which
Page knocked out two of Scales' teeth. They slept in the same
bed later that night, one armed with a gun, the other with
the 1932 season, Double Duty Radcliffe was asked by the Chicago
Defender newspaper to name who he thought were the top players
in the Negro Leagues, and he chose Scales as his second baseman
in an infield with Jud Wilson at third, Dick Lundy at shortstop,
George Giles at first and Biz Mackey behind the plate. The
team also included outfielders Cool Papa Bell, Fats Jenkins
and Turkey Stearnes, pitchers Satchel Paige and Willie Foster,
and manager Bingo DeMoss.
his prime, Scales batted over .400 in league games, with good
gap power, but he wasn't a big home run hitter. He usually
batted in the .320-.350 range, similar in skill and style to
the modern day's Edgar Martinez.
1938, Scales joined the Baltimore Elite Giants and took over
as manager, replacing the popular Biz Mackey. Scales was not
a terribly popular manager with the players because he was
very demanding and had a quick temper (a Billy Martin type),
but he knew the game and had everyone's respect.
Scales, like Pete Rose decades later, was always willing to
change positions to help his teams, and he played more than
100 games at first base, third base, shortstop
and outfield, besides his regular post at second.
played 12 winters in Puerto Rico, and played in the Dominican
Republic in 1937.
retiring from baseball, Scales, who had attended college at
Talladega College as a youngster, become a successful stockbroker
in Los Angeles.
1996, Scales was inducted into the Puerto Rican Baseball Hall
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