Lou Dials

An outstanding outfielder and first baseman, Dials broke in with one of Negro baseball’s most powerful teams, the Chicago American Giants, in 1925. Unconfirmed statistics show Dials winning the 1931 Negro National League batting title with a .382 average for the Detroit Stars. Returning to Chicago, he was an all-star in 1936. With the Negro Leagues on shaky financial ground, Dials went to the North Mexican League, where he managed Torrion to two championships and continued to hit well over .300.

Had the Pacific Coast League owners had the strength to oppose Commissioner Landis, in 1943 Dials could have been the first black signed into organized ball. Dials and Chet Brewer were set to become members of the Los Angeles Angels (PCL) until Chicago Cubs owner Phil Wrigley vetoed the plan. They later were denied a chance by the Oakland owner as well, who said, “The other owners would crucify me if I let you play.” Dials continued to barnstorm against white major leaguers until his retirement. He became a scout and an outstanding speaker on behalf of the Negro Leagues.