Baseball became “America’s pastime” by the late 1800s. During this time, black men had to form their own leagues since baseball was segregated.
There was a black league in East Texas, which included a Tyler team, but it only lasted one season in 1946.
But a noteworthy and more documented baseball figure out of East Texas became a National Baseball Hall of Famer.
Born on Jan. 17, 1890 in Tyler, Louis Santop went on to become “the first of the great Negro League sluggers,” and “the first Negro League superstar.”
Santop stood 6-foot-4 and weighed 240 pounds–a big size for his time. He was primarily a catcher but also played corner infield and outfield positions.
He made a name for himself with the Fort Worth Wonders, the Philadelphia Giants, the New York Lincoln Giants and the Chicago American Giants.
Santop played in the Black World Series for the Hilldale Daisies in 1921, 1924, and 1925, with wins in 1921 and 1925. Santop is known for having out-hit Babe Ruth in a 1920 post-season exhibition series.
The Navy veteran retired in the late 1920s. He died in 1942 in Philadelphia.