SEPT 2010: THE BASEBALL GURU ARTICLE FROM
He was 67, weighed 250 pounds in his playing days, threw a spitter that was devastating, and dominated black ball before the days of the Negro Leagues.
He pitched for 15 different black teams over his career including THE LELAND GIANTS, CHICAGO AMERICAN GIANTS, INDIANAPOLIS ABCs, DETROIT STARS, TOLEDO TIGERS, and the BIRMINGHAM BLACK BARONS.
June 6, 1921, in an outing against THE CINCINNATI CUBAN STARS he pitched the first ever no hitter in organized black baseball.
He was also known as a fine hitter and was often used as a pinch hitter. His records as both a pitcher and hitter are lost to us. In those days statistics were not kept in Negro League ball but those who were in the game estimated he probably won over 200 games and had a batting average around the .280s.
After his active career was over he managed in the game for over 20 years and achieved two other great moments in the game which thanks to SABR has recently come to light.
While managing THE BLACK BARONS he had a pitcher who was decent enough but had blazing speed and who could hit as well. Gatewood talked him into becoming an everyday player and because of the way he handled pressure dubbed him COOL PAPA BELL and of course the name stuck.
He also had Satchel Paige on the team and was responsible for teaching him how to use THE HESITATION PITCH.
He passed away in 1962, virtually forgotten, with no marker on his gravesite. Recently SABR identified his grave and put a stone there and listed his significant contributions to the game.