The first Negro World Series
The first Negro World Series was played and won by the Kansas City Monarchs
It took a three-week, four-city tour and best-of-nine series for two competing leagues to decide who was the biggest and baddest of them all.
On Oct. 20, 1924, the final game of the first Negro World Series was played and won by the Kansas City Monarchs over the Hilldale Athletic Club (also known as the Darby Daisies) — the first major league franchise to bring a championship to Kansas City.
The championship game was conceived because of one part bravado, another part bragging rights and a third a whole lot of ego between Monarchs owner J.L. Wilkinson, Hilldale owner Ed Bolden of the Eastern Colored League and Negro National League president Rube Foster.
When considering the three men involved, it’s no wonder the first Negro World Series ended up being the spectacle it was. While the money the men thought they could make from the World Series did not live up to the hype, the product on the field went above and beyond their expectations and those of the fans.
In total, 45,857 fans came out for the 10-game slate and $52,113 was made at the ticket office from their games. The most-attended game was the Oct. 12 contest in Kansas City when 8,885 fans sat in the stands.
The majority of the games, though, were played at neutral sites – Games 1 and 2 at Baker Bowl in Philadelphia, Games 3 and 4 in Baltimore at Maryland Baseball Park, Games 5-7 at Muehlebach Field in Kansas City and the final stretch, Games 8-10, were played in Chicago at Schorling Park.
Playing at neutral sites allowed the young leagues to continue to spread interest and also show appreciation to their fans, who had made the Negro National League, especially, one of the successful black-owned business operations.
The World Series started Oct. 3, and the Monarchs handed the Daisies a 6-2 defeat. The Eastern Colored League team rebounded, taking Games 2, 4 and 5, and moving into a commanding 3-1 series lead. (Game 3 ended in a tie after 13 innings.)
Kansas City kept it pushing after the early blows to the chin, winning each of the next three games by one run. The Monarchs actually needed extra innings in Game 7 to prevail.
The series was then tilted in favor of Kansas City, 4-3, before Hilldale pulled out a 5-3 victory in Game 9. It was all for naught, as the Monarchs avenged their 11-0 blowout loss to the Daisies in Game 2 by blanking Hilldale, 5-0, in the Game 10 clincher.
Pitcher Jose Mendez played after arm surgery at the beginning of the year and allowed just three singles and a walk, ensuring his Monarchs the win.
“Sports writers speak of Cy Young, Chief Bender, Mordecai Brown and others who had many ballgames behind them as superathletes,” The Call reported. “If they were super, what of Jose Mendez, who gets off an operating table to pitch a [three]-hit shutout on a cold day. And his years on this earth and on the ball diamonds exceeds theirs.”
The Philadelphia-based Daisies would face the Monarchs again the following year and complete their revenge tour, beating Kansas City in the 1925 World Series. Two years later, the championship ceased.
Five future Hall of Famers played in the first World Series – Hilldale’s Biz Mackey, Judy Johnson and Louis Santop, and Kansas City’s “Bullet Joe” Rogan and Mendez.