Leaguer of the Month
Born: June 24, 1895 in Thibodaux,
Died: June 12, 1949 in Denver, CO
Ht:5'-11", Wt: 165
Batted right and threw right
Position: third base
Teams: Brooklyn Royal Giants, Atlantic City Bacharachs, New
York Lincolns, Baltimore Black Sox, Denver White Elephants,
The Negro Leagues produced many great third basemen:
Bobby Robinson, Ray Dandridge, Judy Johnson and Alec Radcliffe
come to mind. But many believe the greatest of them all was Oliver
Only Robinson could field with him, but Marcelle
outhit him, and was the best all-around third baseman of the
lot. His work with the glove has been described as "magical"
and "colorful," and his nickname, "the Ghost," reportedly came
from the way he seemingly floated up in the air to snag linedrives.
Marcelle played fairly shallow and off the line,
almost daring batters to make him go to his right; if they did,
they ended up very disappointed.
Marcelle was born in Thibodaus, Louisiana, and
played for the top black teams in New Orleans before signing
with the Brooklyn Royal Giants in 1918.
1920-1923 Marcelle played with the Atlantic City Bacharachs,
and achieved his greatest fame. Marcelle usually
batted in the mid .300s, had great speed, and was an aggressive
being a great player and wonderful fielder, Marcelle was known
for a terrible temper, especially after drinking.
This temper eventually ruined his career. During winter ball
in Cuba in 1929, Marcelle got into a fight with player Frank
during a game of craps. Marcelle challenged Warfield to a fight,
and he accepted and ended up biting off the end of Marcelle's
Marcelle was so embarrassed by his appearance (he
had been one of the most handsome and sharpest dressed players
in the Negro Leagues), that he wore a patch over his nose and
tried to keep playing. The next season, 1930, Marcelle had a
fine season, but his fire and desire were subdued and he retired
from big time black baseball for good.
Marcelle moved to Denver and continued to play top semipro ball
with the Denver White Elephants, along with youngsters Buck O'Neil
and Pistol Pete Albright.
O'Neil remembered The Ghost as a fine veteran influence,
though most of his teammates through the years remembered him
as a great player with a nasty disposition.
In 1996, Marcelle was inducted into the Louisiana
Sports Hall of Fame; if not for the abrupt ending to his career,
Cooperstown also might have called for the Ghost.
died in 1949, a few weeks shy of his 54th birthday. Marcelle's
son, Ziggy Marcelle, also played into he
Negro Leagues, though he was never a star.
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