Webster "Submarine" McDonald

"He is a cross between a bowler and a diamond heaver. He gets down on his right knee, brushes the mound with his right knuckles and lets go, his delivery being a change of pace and a snake ball. The ball didn't curve. It just refused to follow any given course and snaked up there like Lola, the shimmy dancer, on a spree."

--Minneapolis Journal sportswriter Halsey Hall after watching McDonald pitch in 1930

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©Copyright 2000-2001, Kyle McNary, McNary Publishing


Negro Leaguer of the Month
December, 2000

Webster McDonald

Career: 1920-1940
Batted: Left; Threw: Right
HT: 6'-0"; WT: 190 lbs.
Born: January 1, 1900
Died: June 12, 1982

Teams: Detroit Stars, NY Lincoln Giants, Homestead Grays, Chicago American Giants, Philadelphia Stars, Baltimore Black Sox, Washington Black Senators, Little Falls (MN)

Webster was born in Wilmington, Deleware on the first day of the 1900s and he became one of the top hurlers in Negro League history.

As his nickname suggests, McDonald threw underhand, although many said he came from dozens of angles, which made him even tougher to hit. He didn't possess tremendous speed, but like most submariners, his pitches sunk which made batters beat the ball into the ground.

In his prime with the American Giants, he won 2 out of every 3 games he started.

In 1930 McDonald played for an independent team in Little Falls, Minnesota, where he and his battery mate, were the only blacks. The entire town shut down that season to watch McDonald pitch against and beat the Minneapolis Millers, who finished 3rd in the American Association, the top level of minor league baseball.

McDonald probably gained his greatest fame by beating major leaguers in exhibitions more than any pitcher besides Satchel Paige. He was 14-2 against the big leaguers, and beat Dizzy Dean 4 straight times by scores of 7-1, 1-0, 7-1 and 11-1.