McDonald was a 6′ 180-lb submarine-style pitcher in the Negro Leagues from 1918 until the late 1930s. Little is known of the first seven years of his career, but in his two best-documented seasons he went 11-3 in 1926 and 10-5 in 1927 for the Chicago American Giants. In four games of the Black World Series of those years, he went 1-1. In 1933 he helped organize the Philadelphia Stars and, as player-manager in 1934, won a critical playoff game to help take the Negro National League championship from his former team, the American Giants. The control pitcher is credited with an as-yet undocumented 86-42 lifetime mark in the Negro Leagues, and a 14-4 record in exhibition games against major league teams.