Leaguer of the Month
William "Frank" Haygood
Born: June 3, 1902 in
Cameron, Milam County, Texas
Died: November 21, 1983 in Okmulgee, Okmulgee County, OK
Ht:5'-10", Wt: 170
Batted right and threw right.
Teams: Okmulgee (OK) Merchants, several teams in the Texas-Oklahoma
Haygood is a name very few of you have heard of, but his story
is one of the most interesting I've come across; he loved and
excelled at baseball, but it was in another sport that he made
First, his baseball career: Haygood was born in Milam County,
Texas in 1902 and was raised in the Tiger Flats-Sharp Community
of Okmulgee County, Oklahoma.
Around 1920, Haygood was good enough to be signed by a black team
sponsored by the Okmulgee Merchants, who played at beautiful Petrolia
Park. The merchants played many white semipro teams, but Haygood's
fondest baseball memories were games against a tough club from
Stroud, Oklahoma and the famed Kansas City Monarchs. As with most
Negro Leaguers, playing against Satchel Paige was always a thrill.
Haygood was a slick-fielding shortstop who hit for a high average
and had excellent speed. Had he chosen to venture outside of Oklahoma,
he would have been a good prospect to play in the Negro American
League. Instead, he played most of his career with the Merchants,
and several teams in the Texas-Oklahoma Negro League.
had a special relationship with Rube Foster, from Calvert, Texas--only
26 miles from his hometown of Cameron. It's probable that one
of Haygood's teams hooked up with Foster's Chicago American Giants
in the 1920s.
retiring from baseball, Haygood owned his own plumbing company,
but he couldn't completely give up sports. In 1955, Haygood and
10 other leading black Okmulgee citizens, started the first black
rodeo. Next year, the rodeo will celebrate its 50th anniversary.
the record, the other charter members of the Okmulgee County Round
Up Club included Ernest Thigpen, D.P. Lilly, Larnell Williams,
Willie Tate, John Grant, Roy LeBlanc, Ernest Bruner, Clarence
Williams, Charles LeBlanc and Alfred Nonnett.
was a documentary made about the all-black rodeo called "Buckle
Brothers--Today's Black Cowboys" by Ka-ron Om Vereen.
Haygood and his partners were inspired by the rich, but underreported
history of black cowboys in the Old West. Black lawmen such as
Bass Reeves, Ben Boyer, Robert L. Fortune, Grant Johnson and Francis
T. Bruce kept peace in various towns in Colorado and Oklahoma
in the late 1800s and early 1900s.
I would like to give special thanks to William Haygood's daughter
Cassaundra for her help and her desire to keep her father's memory
site, and the webmaster, is powered by Xango!!!