Newt Allen

For 23 years, Newt Allen was the foundation of the powerhouse Kansas City Monarch teams that won 10 league championships. He was just 5’7″ and 169 lbs, but displayed amazing strength and endurance in his baseball travels. Considered the premier second baseman during the formative years of the Negro National League, he made fielding his position an art. Former teammate Chet Brewer said, “Newt was a real slick second baseman, he could catch the ball and throw it without looking. Newt used to catch the ball, throw it up under his left arm; it was just a strike to first base. He was something! Get that ball out of his glove quicker than anybody you ever saw.”

Allen attended Lincoln High School in Kansas City, MO with future Monarch teammates Frank Duncan and Rube Currie. The three organized a local team called the Kansas City Tigers, named after the school mascot. After a brief amateur career, in 1921 Allen joined the semi-pro Omaha Federals, for whom he was playing second base when discovered by Monarch owner J.L. Wilkinson. He signed with the All-Nations, toured with them for most of 1922, and was promoted to the Monarchs in October.

The switch-hitting Allen was a line-drive hitter and a skilled bunter. Aggressive on the basepaths, he was not afraid to break up a double play. He twice led the Monarchs in hits, doubles, and stolen bases. He paired with shortstops Willie Wells, Jesse Williams, and Dobie Moore to form extraordinary DP combinations. As Monarch captain, he led his club to the Black World Series in 1924, 1925, and 1945. In the first BWS, against Hilldale in ’24, he had seven doubles and batted .281. His best year was 1929, when he hit .330 and led the team with 24 doubles and 23 stolen bases. In 1930 he batted .356.

Allen spent parts of the 1931 and 1932 seasons with the St. Louis Stars, Detroit Stars, and Homestead Grays, as well as with the Monarchs. In 1937 the Monarchs joined the newly-formed Negro American League; with Allen as their manager, they won five pennants (1937, 1939-42). In 1942, at the age of 41, Allen made his final BWS appearance; he batted .267 in the Monarchs’ four-game sweep of the Homestead Grays.

Playing in Cuba for two winters, he batted .313 for the Almendares club in 1924-25 and .269 for the Habana team in 1937-38. He toured Japan, the Philippines, and the Hawaiian Islands with other Negro Leaguers. In 24 recorded games against major league competition, he batted .301.