Spottswood (Spotsy) Poles Home

Historical Significance

Baseball star Spottswood Poles (1887-1962) was born at 530 Fremont Street in Winchester to Matilda and French Poles, a laborer. He once reminisced that "I played baseball since I was six years old, using a broomstick and a tennis ball." Known as "the black Ty Cobb," Poles is remembered as the fastest man who ever played in the Negro Leagues. He was a left-handed batter with exceptionally high batting averages. In 1911, playing for the New York Lincoln Giants, he batted .440 and stole 41 bases in 60 games. In 10 exhibition games against Major League teams, he had an impressive .610 batting average.

He started playing organized "Negro ball" for the Harrisburg Colored Giants in 1906 and first became a professional for Sol White's Philadelphia Giants in 1909. He spent the 1911 to 1914 seasons playing for the Lincoln Giants. The next few seasons he played for the New York Lincoln Stars, Brooklyn Royal Giants, and the Hilldale Daisies.

During World War I, Poles enlisted in the 369th Infantry and earned five battle stars and a Purple Heart fighting in France, where he also organized a baseball team. When he returned home he played for the Lincoln Giants again from 1919 to 1923. Retiring from sports in 1923, he returned to Winchester to drive a taxi and worked at the Olmsted Air Force Base in Middletown, Pennsylvania. Spottswood Poles is buried in Arlington National Cemetery. 

Physical Description

No Physical Description Available

Geographical and Contact Information

530 Fremont Street
Winchester, Virginia
22601

Cite this Page:

Virginia Foundation for the Humanities, “Spottswood (Spotsy) Poles Home,” African American Historic Sites Database, accessed November 22, 2017, http://www.aahistoricsitesva.org/items/show/399.

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