Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Card of Week: 2001 Fleer Tradition Stitches in Time John Henry "Pop' Lloyd

The Kansas City Royals and San Francisco Giants are in the World Series.  I usually try to write something about the two teams and the history between them or some players who are linked to both.  Well, the two teams here really don't have much in previous games to recall in significance and in terms of players who played for both, only a hand full came to mind.  None really warrant a discussion.  By the way, here is who I came up with off the top of head who has played for both franchises : Carlos Beltran, Gaylord Perry, Vida Blue and Bud Black.

2001 Fleer Tradition Stitches in Time #23
Then it occurred to me that there is an old Negro League team that share a name with both teams.  The Brooklyn Royal Giants.  So I will talk about the team and specifically one of it's star players.
The ball club was one of the top negro professional teams in the early 20th century.  Brooklyn was mostly an independent team before any establishment of a professional negro league.  Much like many negro pro teams, the Royal Giants didn't last long.  Many players moved from team to team in order to make a decent living and subsequently, teams formed and folded often.
As for the Brooklyn Royal Giants, they did a field some star players.  They included OF Charles "Chino" Smith, pitchers Frank Wickware, Dick "Cannonball" Redding and Hall of Famer "Smokey" Joe Williams.  But the most well known player who suited up for the Royal Giants was John Henry "Pop" Lloyd, when he was the team's player/manager from 1918-1920.
Lloyd is considered by many as the greatest shortstop in Negro League history.  He is often referred to as the "Black Honus Wagner".  Wagner, himself, was honored to be compared Lloyd.   Babe Ruth once said Lloyd was best player he ever saw no matter the skin color.  He was a very good fielder at shortstop and could scoop up many ground balls. Because of this he was nicknamed "The Shovel".  He proved he could hit MLB pitching when he .500 in a five game exhibition against Ty Cobb and the Detroit Tigers.  Lloyd is credited with a career .368 batting avg.  He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1977.

The trading card is part of the Stitches in Time set inserted randomly in the 2001 Fleer Tradition packs.  This set consists of 24 of the more popular Negro League stars.  I am personally working on completing this set.  Luckily for this blog, Lloyd is one of them I do have. 

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