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Bullet Joe Rogan

Bullet Joe Rogan

Hurley McNair of the Kansas City Monarchs, cropped from larger image of the 1924 Negro League World Series.

Charles Wilber Rogan

Nickname: Bullet Joe Rogan

  • Bats Right, Throws Right
  • Height 5' 7", Weight 160 lb.
  • Born July 28, 1893 in Oklahoma City, OK USA
  • Died March 4, 1967 in Kansas City, MO USA
  • Inducted into Hall of Fame 1989

One of the Negro Leagues' most versatile players, Rogan attained mastery both on the pitcher's mound and at the plate. His career .721 winning percentage (111-43) is the highest recorded in Negro League history. In 11 seasons with the Kansas City Monarchs, he compiled a .339 batting average, 10th among all Negro Leaguers.

Rogan used a no-windup delivery and possessed a devastating fastball and an array of curveballs. He also threw a forkball, a palmball, and a legal spitter. Chet Brewer, another Monarch pitching great who played with Satchel Paige and Rogan, insisted that "Rogan should have been put in the Hall of Fame before Satchel. Rogan could throw a curveball faster than most pitchers could throw a fastball." Paige once said Rogan "was the onliest pitcher I ever saw, I ever heard of... pitching and hitting in the clean-up place. He could throw as hard as Smokey Joe Williams." Hall of Famer Judy Johnson said, "Satchel Paige was fast, but Rogan was smart." Rogan was also regarded as the Negro Leagues' finest-fielding pitcher.

Rogan began as a catcher, but eventually played every position. He was a great low-ball and curveball hitter. He had thin but powerful legs and tremendously strong wrists, and would attack the ball with a smooth swing and a heavy bat. He helped the Kansas City, KS Giants to 54 consecutive wins in 1909 against semi-pro and local competition. In 1911 he began his pitching career with the 25th Infantry Wreckers army team. After nine years of army ball, he was discovered at age 30 by Casey Stengel, and referred to Monarchs owner J.L. Wilkinson.

As a Monarch in 1922, Rogan hit 13 home runs in 47 league games. He led the league with 16 victories and batted .411 in 1924. He then starred in the first Black World Series, against Hilldale. In the 10-game series, he went 2-1 (2.57) in four games, and played the outfield the other six, hitting .325. The following year he notched a league-high 14 wins to lead the Monarchs to another BWS. But a freak knee injury forced him to watch from the sidelines as his club lost the championship to Hilldale.

In 25 games against white major leaguers, Rogan batted .329. At the age of 48, he participated in his last such exhibition; playing left field against the Bob Feller All-Stars, he went 3-for-4 and stole a base. Dizzy Dean said, "Old Rogan was a showboat boy, a Pepper Martin-type ballplayer. He was one of those cute guys, never wanted to give you a good ball to hit."

Satchel Paige said this about Rogan in the book Blackball Stars: "Joe Rogan was one of the world's greatest pitchers. ...He was a chunky little guy, but he could throw hard. He could throw hard as Smokey Joe Williams-yeah."

He died in Kansas City, Missouri on March 4, 1967 at age 73. The Baseball Hall of Fame first admitted Negro league players in the 1970s, but did not honor Bullet Rogan until 1998, 31 years after his death.

Negro Leagues Career Statistics

 Batting

Year Team League G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB BB BA SLG
.                            
1920 Kansas City Monarchs NNL 37 145 12 43 5 8 0 6 8 8 .297 .441
1921 Kansas City Monarchs NNL 66 199 25 57 9 7 4 13 19 23 .286 .462
1922 Kansas City Monarchs NNL 62 200 40 78 10 6 13 33 15 30 .390 .695
1923 Kansas City Monarchs NNL 68 209 39 76 12 3 7 45 5 20 .364 .550
1924 Kansas City Monarchs NNL 60 195 36 77 11 6 5 51 8 16 .395 .590
1925 Kansas City Monarchs NNL 56 139 20 53 7 8 2 11 5 15 .381 .590
1926 Kansas City Monarchs NNL 57 147 26 45 8 3 1 8 2 24 .306 .422
1927 Kansas City Monarchs NNL 56 116 18 38 3 3 2 9 1 21 .328 .457
1928 Kansas City Monarchs NNL 64 201 40 70 14 5 3 22 5 18 .348 .512
1929 Kansas City Monarchs NNL 71 256 64 92 15 9 7 33 26 40 .359 .570
1930 Kansas City Monarchs NNL 29 107 26 32 6 0 0 5 5 17 .299 .355
1931
1932
(did not participate in league play)                          
1933 Kansas City Monarchs independent 7 19 5 6 0 0 1 5 2 3 .316 .474
1934 Kansas City Monarchs independent 7 27 2 2 1 0 0 0 0 1 .074 .111
1935 Kansas City Monarchs independent 2 6 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 .167 .167
1936 Kansas City Monarchs independent 2 2 1 1 0 0 0 2 0 1 .500 .500
1937 Kansas City Monarchs NAL 16 30 4 8 2 1 0 6 2 4 .267 .400
1938 Kansas City Monarchs NAL 12 24 5 5 1 0 0 2 1 2 .208 .250
.                            
Totals 17 seasons   672 2022 363 684 104 59 45 251 104 243 .338 .515
  per 162 g 4.15 162 487 88 165 25 14 11 61 25 59    
  • source: Shades of Glory, Hogan et al., ppg. 396-397

 Pitching

Year Team League W L SV Pct G GS CG ShO IP H R ER BB SO ERA
.                                  
1920 Kansas City Monarchs NNL 5 3 0 .625 9 9 8 0 79.7 67 32 20 27 68 2.26  
1921 Kansas City Monarchs NNL 12 8 1 .600 22 20 20 3 181.0 150 68 45 57 102 2.24
1922 Kansas City Monarchs NNL 8 6 1 .571 19 14 13 1 131.33 117 61 29 27 80 1.99
1923 Kansas City Monarchs NNL 16 10 3 .615 33 23 19 4 239.7 209 110 78 74 146 2.93
1924 Kansas City Monarchs NNL 18 6 0 .750 27 25 21 1 204.0 181 94 61 66 115 2.69
1925 Kansas City Monarchs NNL 17 2 3 .895 24 18 17 5 171.3 137 44 44 25 102 2.31
1926 Kansas City Monarchs NNL 16 5 1 .762 24 14 13 0 158.0 145 64 56 41 77 3.19
1927 Kansas City Monarchs NNL 13 7 3 .650 27 14 13 3 144.7 134 49 37 29 102 2.30
1928 Kansas City Monarchs NNL 10 2 2 .833 17 10 8 0 114.3 122 47 38 14 54 2.99
1929 Kansas City Monarchs NNL 0 1 0 .000 2 1 0 0 9.3 10 3 3 0 3 2.89
1930 Kansas City Monarchs NNL 0 0 0 --- 0 0 0 0 0.0 0 0 0 0 0 ---
1931
1932
(did not play)                                
1933 Kansas City Monarchs independent 0 0 0 --- 1 1 0 0 1.3 4 3 2 0 0 13.53
1934 Kansas City Monarchs independent 0 0 0 --- 0 0 0 0 0.0 0 0 0 0 0 ---
1935 Kansas City Monarchs independent 1 0 0 1.000 1 0 0 0 3.00 5 3 0 0 1 0.00
1936 Kansas City Monarchs independent 0 0 0 --- 0 0 0 0 0.0 0 0 0 0 0 ---
1937 Kansas City Monarchs NAL 0 0 0 --- 2 1 0 0 5.7 5 9 1 9 5 7.94
1938 Kansas City Monarchs NAL 0 0 0 --- 1 0 0 0 1.0 0 0 0 0 0 0.00
.                                  
Totals 17 seasons   116 50 14 .699 209 150 132 17 1444.3 1286 587 418 361 855 2.60
  seasonal notation   25 11 3   45 32 28 4 311.7 277 127 90 78 184  
  • source: Shades of Glory, Hogan et al., ppg. 409-409

 

Source:

These statistics can be compared to an earlier compilation by Negro leagues historian John Holway, who puts Rogan's career record in the Negro leagues at 151 wins and 65 losses, with a .348 average and 62 home runs in 2039 at bats. According to Holway's statistics, Rogan's 151 wins are first all-time among Negro league pitchers, his .699 winning percentage fifth, and his .348 average fourth among players with more than 2000 at bats. (It should be pointed out that Negro league schedules were at their longest in the 1920s, so Rogan enjoys a statistical advantage over both later and earlier pitchers.) Also according to Holway, Rogan hit .370 against white major league competition.

California Winter League

Batting

Year Team G AB H 2B 3B HR BA SLG
1920/21 Los Angeles White Sox 30 106 39 3 4 5 * .368 * .613
1925/26 Philadelphia Royal Giants 30 89 30 8 0 2 .326 .494
1926/27 Philadelphia Royal Giants 23 57 17 2 0 0 .298 .333
1928/29 Cleveland Giants 28 106 43 5 1 4 .406 .585
1929/30 Philadelphia Royal Giants 19 76 28 8 0 4 .362 .632
Total 130 434 157 25 5 15 .362 .546
    * = league leader.

Pitching

Year Team W L Pct G CG IP BB SO ShO
1920/21 Los Angeles White Sox 8 8 .500 16 16 144 74 * 110 * 1 *
1925/26 Philadelphia Royal Giants 14 * 2 .875 18 * 16 * 153 * 52 * 82 * 1
1926/7 Philadelphia Royal Giants 6 2 .750 11 * 6 68 21 * 38 2 *
1928/29 Cleveland Giants 9 1 .900 12 8 92 21 68 1
1929/30 Philadelphia Royal Giants 5 1 .800 7 6 59 21 53 * 0
Total 42 14 .750 64 52 516 189 351 5
    * = league leader.

Rogan spent five seasons in the integrated California Winter League between 1920 and 1930 against teams of white major and minor leaguers. Rogan's team won the championship every year.

Cuban (Winter) League

Year Team League W L Pct G CG
1924/25 Almendares p Cuban 9* 4 .692 18 5
   p = pennant; * - led league.

Source:

Against all competition

Historian Phil Dixon puts Rogan's lifetime totals against all competition, including semipro and Army teams, at more than 350 games won, 2000 strikeouts, 2500 hits, 350 home runs, and 500 stolen bases.

By Baseball Library

 

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