Leaguer of the Month
Born: 3/26/1912 in Princeton, IN
Resides in Chicago
Ht:5'-10", Wt: 190
Batted right and threw right.
Position: outfield, third base
Teams: Joe Greens Giants (Chicago), Chicago American
Giants, Cincinnati Clowns, Birmingham Black Barons, Baltimore
Elite Giants, Carmen Cardinals, Fort Wayne Capeharts, Winnipeg
Lockett grew up loving baseball and idolizing Jimmy Dykes, a great
Major League third baseman for the Philadelphia As and Chicago
White Sox. Lockett was a great all-around athlete at Lincoln High
School in Princeton, Indiana, lettering in baseball, basketball
and football, but his first and true love was baseball.
After high school and a year of semipro ball in Indianapolis,
Lockett moved to Chicago where he still resides today.
Locketts first team was Joe Greenes Giants who played
at Washington Park in Chicago. As a result of his slugging reputation,
Lockett was offered a tryout with the Chicago American Giants
in 1937, and he would play with them, off and on, until 1950.
Lockett spent one summer with the Cincinnati-Indianapolis Clowns
barnstorming through the Dakotas with Buster Haywood and Goose
Tatum, but he chose not to clown or participate in
the silly routines performed by the players.
In 1941, Lockett joined the Birmingham Black Barons, and batted
in the heart of an order that included Piper Davis, Artie Wilson
and Pepper Bassett.
In 1943, Lockett helped lead the Black Barons into the Negro League
World Series, which they lost to the Homestead Grays. In 1944,
the Barons again played in the World Series, and again were defeated
by the Grays.
Lester played in 4 East-West All-Star Games (43, 45,
and two in 48), going 1 for 10. He represented the Black
Barons in 43 and 45, and the Baltimore Elite Giants
In 48, Lockett finally won his championship as a member
of the Fort Wayne Capeharts who won the National Semipro Championship
in Wichita, Kansas. The Capeharts also featured Negro League pitchers
Bill Ricks and Pat Scantlebury.
After the Negro Leagues started to crumble in 1950, Lockett played
several seasons in the Manitoba-Dakota League. While playing with
the Carmen Cardinals in Kirchener one day, one spectators
language was especially rough. In an effort to quiet this particular
loudmouth, Lockett batted left-handedsomething he toyed
with in batting practiceand homered. The man didnt
speak another word.
Lockett was a very solid and versatile player, playing a very
good third base when called on, but usually playing left or right
field. Lockett usually batted anywhere from third to sixth in
the batting order, and won a Negro American League batting title.
Mostly, though, Lockett was known for his slugging and his 38-inch
long bat. He once hit a homerun nearly 500 feet in Chester, Pennsylvania,
and hit a towering infield pop fly in Baltimore that got lost
in the fog and Lockett circled the bases before the fielders could
locate it! "George Scales said, 'Lockett done hit the ball
out of site!'" Lockett remembered.
The most Lockett ever made in the Negro Leagues was $500 a month,
but he made as much as $900 a month playing winter ball in Mexico
After retiring from baseball, Lockett worked several jobs. Lockett
worked at his last job, as a security guard for the city of Chicago,
until retiring in his early 80s.
Lester lives in Chicago and, though he suffers from Alzheimer's
disease, is still a joy to be around.