T.J. Young

"The tabulations show the game's greatest backstop, T.J. Young of the K.C. Monarchs, is running so far behind [in voting for the East-West game] he looks like the tail light on a caboose. Here goes my tally to a great guy, a marvelous athlete, and a lost cause."

-Dave Hawkins, Chicago Defender reporter, quoted from "Black Baseball's National Showcase," by Larry Lester

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Negro Leaguer of the Month

July, 2007

Thomas Jefferson Young

Born: ca. 1902
Died: ?
Ht:6'-1", Wt: 195
Batted left and threw right
Position: catcher
Years: 1925-1941
Teams: Kansas City Monarchs, St. Louis Stars, Homestead Grays, Pittsburgh Crawfords, New York Cubans, Newark Eagles

One of the top catchers of the 1930s, T.J. Young was a tall, handsome receiver, with a strong arm and potent left-handed bat.

During the depression, when the Kansas City Monarchs were primarily a barnstorming team, and not in a formal league, Young and Frank Duncan were the top catching duo in black baseball.

While Duncan had a slight edge defensively, Young was a left-handed slugger, usually batting in the 4th or 5th spot in the order, and often pinch hitting when not catching.

In 1933, the year of the first East-West game, Young garnered more votes than all catchers except Biz Mackey, Josh Gibson and Larry Brown (the first two of whom are Hall of Famers). That would be as close as he would ever come to playing in this big game.

T.J.'s brother, Maurice, pitched briefly with the Monarchs in the 1920s, forming possibly the first brother battery in Negro League history.

In a post-season exhibition game vs. Dizzy Dean's All-Stars in 1934, Young belted four hits, including a double off Diz and a triple off his brother Daffy.

After retiring from the Negro Leagues, Young played in Mexico, where he caught a no-hitter hurled by another former Monarch, Chet Brewer.