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Bill Gatewood

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Title: Bill Gatewood  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
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Subject: Satchel Paige, Cool Papa Bell, List of Negro league baseball players, St. Paul Colored Gophers, St. Louis Stars (baseball), Bill Drake (baseball), Leland Giants, Cuban Stars (West), Toledo Tigers
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Bill Gatewood

William Miller "Big Bill" Gatewood
Pitcher / Manager
Born: (1881-08-22)August 22, 1881
San Antonio, Texas
Died: December 8, 1962(1962-12-08) (aged 81)
Columbia, Missouri
Batted: Right Threw: Right
Professional debut
1906 for the Cuban X-Giants
Last professional appearance
1929 for the Gatewood Browns

William Miller "Big Bill" Gatewood (born August 22, 1881) was a Negro Leagues pitcher and manager for several years before the founding of the first Negro National League, and in its first few seasons. He pitched for the Leland Giants,[3] Chicago Giants, St. Paul Colored Gophers,[4] Chicago American Giants,[5] New York Lincoln Giants, Cuban X-Giants, Philadelphia Giants, Brooklyn Royal Giants, St. Louis Giants, [9] Indianapolis ABCs,[11] Detroit Stars, St. Louis Stars, Toledo Tigers, Milwaukee Bears, Memphis Red Sox, Atlantic City Bacharach Giants, and Birmingham Black Barons.

A 6'7" tall spitball pitcher, Gatewood was a first line pitcher in Blackball's pre-league days, and pitched the first no-hitter in NNL league play, beating the Cincinnati Cuban Stars on June 6, 1921. As his pitching skills deteriorated, he remained in the game as a manager.

Negro league years

In the first week of June in 1920,[17] 38 year-old Big Bill Gatewood left the St. Louis Giants and joined Tenny Blount's team, the Detroit Stars. [14] Part-way through the second season, he moved on to the Cuban Stars.

He managed the St. Louis Stars and Birmingham Black Barons. He is credited with giving Negro Leagues great James Cool Papa Bell his famous nickname,[18] and for convincing him to learn to switch hit in order to take advantage of his speed. He is also credited with teaching Satchel Paige his "hesitation pitch" while managing him in Birmingham.

Post career

After Gatewood died, he was buried in an unmarked grave and did not receive a proper headstone until a Society for American Baseball Research group lead by Jeremy Krock and Larry Lester called the Negro Leagues Baseball Grave Marker Project installed a proper gravestone in 2010.[19] Bill Gatewood's grave did not have a headstone for about 48 years.[20]


  • The Biographical Encyclopedia of the Negro Baseball Leagues by James A. Riley {1994} Publisher: Carroll & Graf (New York NY) ISBN 0-7867-0959-6
  • Draft registration card, 1918, National Archives & Records Administration
  • A Legacy Written in Stone - The Columbia Tribune

External links

  • Larry Lester's "The Krock Watch"
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