Only four men deserve the title "pioneer Native American baseball players."
It starts with Louis Sockalexis (1897), followed by
Charley Bender (1903),
John Meyers (1908) and
Jim Thorpe (1913).
At long last they deserve this recognition.
It is the principal intent of this web site
to help restore proper recognition of Louis Sockalexis,
first-known Native American pro baseball player,
and help recover for him legacies that have been either lost or wrongfully stripped from him.
Sockalexis grave site, Indian Island, Maine
(Click on the image to read the inscription)
As the author of Baseball’s First Indian, a biography of Sockalexis published in 2003, I remain heart-broken by how precious few individuals properly appreciate the historical figure of Louis Francis Sockalexis:
HE WAS a man who almost certainly broke professional baseball’s color barrier (several black players, like Moses Fleetwood Walker and William Edward White, earlier attempted ruses or played ever-so-briefly…. but all were immediately halted from enjoying continuing careers once they were identified for their race).
HE WAS a man who was definitively the first-known Native American to play professional baseball, a man who went through the exact same experience Jackie Robinson endured 50 years after him but never-ever gets any credit for doing so.
HE WAS a man who most certainly did inspire the Cleveland Indians’ nickname.
Louis Francis Sockalexis was the sensation of professional baseball in 1897, featuring the skills of a five-tool player and a comparable charisma that earned him legendary status at any level he ever played. Indeed, Sockalexis was one of those rarest of talents, an athlete held in awe by his fellow athletes, who might be lucky to possess just one of his skills.
Sockalexis could: hit a baseball as far any slugger of that day; hit safely as frequently as the league’s top high average players; make spectacular fielding plays using his exceptional speed; throw the baseball prodigious distances with accuracy; be a base-stealing threat each and every time he reached base.
As an historical personage far too long forgotten, he deserves appropriate recognition and, hopefully, this web site will help in the battle to correct certain points in the narrative to his history, long discredited by many both inside and outside of his home state of Maine.