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Frank Leland


Frank Leland

Frank C. Leland
Born: 1869
Memphis, Tennessee
Died: November 14, 1914(1914-11-14) (aged 45)
Chicago, Illinois
Batted: Right Threw: Right
Professional debut
1887 for the Washington Capital Cities
Last professional appearance
1911 for the Leland Giants

Frank C. Leland (born 1869 and died November 14, 1914) was an African-American baseball player, field manager and club owner in the Negro Leagues.

Leland was born in Memphis, Tennessee. He attended Fisk University in Nashville, Tennessee from 1879 to 1886.[1]

He began his professional career with the Washington Capital Cities in the 1887 National League of Colored Baseball Clubs, a team which played no league games before the experiment collapsed. He "moved to Chicago and was instrumental in organizing and developing five successful baseball teams in that city" (Riley, 475).

In 1888, he organized the black amateur Union Base Ball Club, with sponsorship from some of Chicago's black businessmen, Henry Elby, Albert Donegan, and W.S. Peters.[1] Leland obtained a lease from the city government to play at South Side Park, a 5,000-seat facility. In 1898 his team went pro and became the Chicago Unions.

He played outfield with the Unions in the 1880s. Leland also worked as the umpire for the club in the first few years. He also worked as the traveling manager of the Chicago Unions. [1]

In 1901 he merged the Unions and the Columbia Giants to form the Chicago Union Giants. This became the top Negro League team in the Midwest.

Leland Giants

1905 Leland Giants

The team changed its name to the Leland Giants in 1905; in 1907 Rube Foster replaced Leland as manager and Pete Hill and Foster strengthened the club in the field. A rift between Foster and Leland in 1910 split the team in two; Foster's team won a legal battle over the Leland Giants name, so while Foster ran the team with Leland's name, Leland's club was called the Chicago Giants. This confusion ended in 1911 when Foster's team became the Chicago American Giants. Leland left baseball a short while later after having been the premier owner and manager in black baseball for a decade.

He produced and worked with well-known pre-Negro League baseball players: Walter Ball, Harry Buckner, William Horn, George Hopkins, Harry Hyde, William Monroe, George Wright, Harry Moore, Pete Burns, Lewis Reynolds, William Smith, Dangerfield Talbert, Bert Jones, Nathan Harris, Rube Foster, and Andrew Campbell.[1]

Personal life

In his life outside of baseball, Frank Leland served as a clerk in the Criminal Court, a clerk in the Circuit Court, and a clerk in the Board of Review. At one point, he served as a Deputy Sheriff. And he also held a position as member of the Board of County Commissioners in Cook County in Chicago, Illinois.[1][2]

He was married to Finnie, and his father's name was Charles, (noted as "Chas.") according to his death certificate.[2]

Also on his death certificate, the undertaker appears to have marked Leland's death as Aortic Insufficiency due to exhaustion. He was buried at the Lincoln Cemetery in Chicago, Illinois.[2]


  1. ^ a b c d e "Frank Lelands' Chicago Giants Base Ball Club" Fraternal Printing Company, 1910
  2. ^ a b c "Certificate and Record of Death of Frank Leland" Chicago Department of Health, Chicago, IL, November 14, 1914
  • This article includes information from the article of the same name in the Baseball Reference Bullpen, accessed December 5, 2006. It is available under the GNU Free Documentation License.
  • Holway, John B. (2001). The Complete Book of Baseball's Negro Leagues: The Other Half of Baseball History. Fern Park, FL: Hastings House Publishers. ISBN . 
  • Lester, Larry, Sammy J. Miller and Dick Clark, Black Baseball in Chicago. Arcadia Press, 2000. ISBN 0-7385-0704-0. (Excerpts).
  • Riley, James A. (1994). "Leland, Frank C.". The Biographical Encyclopedia of the Negro Baseball Leagues. Carroll & Graf. pp. 474–75. ISBN . 
  • (Riley.) Frank Leland, Personal profiles at Negro Leagues Baseball Museum. – identical to Riley (confirmed 2010-04-14)

External links

  • A little history from the Josh Gibson Foundation
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