Louis Santop

This 6’4″ 240-lb lefthanded-hitting catcher was one of black baseball’s earliest superstars, a slugger who slammed tape-measure homers during the deadball era. A consummate showman who sometimes called home runs before he hit them, Santop was paid the astounding sum of $500 a month by Hilldale in the early 1920s. He reached his prime with the New York Lincoln Giants and Lincoln Stars from 1911 through 1916, catching pitching greats Smokey Joe Williams and Dick Redding. He is credited with batting as high as .470 against all levels of competition in ’11. After serving in the WWI Navy, he spent 1918 through 1926 with Hilldale. In 1924, the only year for which complete records are available, Santop hit .389. When Hilldale won its third straight pennant in 1925, he reportedly batted .415. In 14 exhibition games against white major leaguers, he hit .296.