Nicknames: Joe, The Black Diamond
a.k.a. José Mendez Baez (his real name)
Positions: p, ss, 3b, 2b, of, manager
Teams: Brooklyn Royal Giants (1908), Cuban Stars (1909-1912), Stars of Cuba (1910), All Nations (1912-1917), Chicago American Giants (1918), Detroit Stars (1919), Kansas City Monarchs (1920-1926)
Height: 5' 8'' Weight: 160
Born: March 19, 1887, Cardenas, Matanzas, Cuba
Died: October 31, 1928, Havana, Cuba
National Baseball Hall of Fame Inductee (2006)
A lean and rangy right-hander with a smooth delivery, this wiry Cuban had tremendous speed that was deceptive. A smart pitcher who changed speeds, his rising fastball, coupled with a sharp-breaking curve, made him one of the greatest black pitchers of his time. Mendez had long arms and exceptionally long fingers, enabling him to get more spin on a ball. Some observers considered him to be faster than Smokey Joe Williams, and the graceful hurler threw with a deceptively easy motion that created havoc with batters' timing. He also utilized a quick release that was legal during the time he played but that is now ruled an illegal delivery.
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The inventor Rick Mosley of the Legends of the Game Negro & Latin Leagues Baseball game shares his eight years of research and thoughts on topics related to Black baseball and American culture.