Alexander Radcliffe

Alexander Radcliffe (Alec) (name also given sometimes as Radcliff)

    * Bats Right, Throws Right

    * Height 6' 0", Weight 205 lb. 

    * Born July 26, 1905 in Mobile, AL, USA

    * Died July 18, 1983 in Chicago, IL, USA

One of 9 siblings of Double Duty Radcliffe, Alex Radcliffe was picked to 11 East-West Games, a record. He holds records for at-bats in that contest (50) and hits (17, tied with Josh Gibson) and is second with 9 RBI. In either 1917 or 1919, he moved north to Chicago, IL with his brother and worked as a batboy for the Chicago American Giants.

After playing with the minor Chicago Giants from 1927-1931, Radcliffe joined the Chicago American Giants as a player in 1932. That year, he hit .294 as the club's third baseman and showed impressive power. His 5 homers tied for second in the Negro Southern League, two behind leader Turkey Stearnes, and his 11 doubles tied for second, also one behind Stearnes. He slipped to .265 the next year, but was third in the Negro National League in doubles and made the first of his East-West Games (all but two of the Western starters were from Chicago), batting cleanup.

In 1934, Alex put up a .316 average and tied for 5th in the NNL with 8 doubles. A year later, the man with the 40-ounce bat batted .343. In '36, turning 31 years old, Radcliffe batted only .259 for Chicago, but had started the year with the New York Cubans, hitting .321.

By 1937, Radcliffe was hitting third for a strong Chicago team. He hit just .228, but was third in the Negro American League with six triples. The next year, his struggles continued at .221, though he was tied for third in doubles (5) in the NAL, tied for second in triples (3) and third in steals (5). In 1939, Alex was moved up to second in the order and only managed a .229 mark.

After hitting .266 in the Cuban Winter League (where his laziness and lack of hustle earned the wrath of manager Mike Gonzalez, who let him go) in 1939-1940, Radcliffe returned to the US with an independent club.

In 1941, Alec was back with the American Giants once again and he batted only .200 in '42 at age 36-37. In 1943, he had his first good season in years with a .366 average, fourth in the NAL. Moving to the Cincinnati-Indianapolis Clowns, Radcliffe hit .400 in '44 and was tied for second in the NAL in homers (7) and tied for fourth in doubles (11).

The 1945 season had Radcliffe hitting .325 with a league-leading seven home runs. He hit .167 for the 1946 Memphis Red Sox as his brief resurgence ended, as did his career in the NAL. After retiring, he worked as a bouncer in his brother's bar.

Sources: The Complete Book of Baseball's Negro Leagues by John Holway, The Biographical Encyclopedia of the Negro Baseball Leagues by James Riley, Black Baseball's National Showcase by Larry Lester 


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