Classic card of the week

John Henry Lloyd, 1993 Ted Williams Collection

Here is another installment of The Negro Leagues series. Previously we discovered that players of this era had awesome nicknames and every team was named the Giants. In this instance we discover that John Henry Lloyd was called “Pop” and that he played for seven different teams called the Giants. But where is our anecdotal evidence of how Pop Lloyd was perceived during his day?

A St. Louis sportswriter was once asked who the greatest player in baseball was.

Here is how I envisioned this little tidbit playing out: He said, “John Henry Lloyd. No question.” That sportswriter’s name? Franklin Delano Roosevelt. That is not how it played out.

“If you mean organized baseball, the answer would be Babe Ruth.”

But if you mean silly-slap-boodlekins-fart-ball –- in which the players run around aimlessly wearing helicopter beanies and the bases are pepperoni pizzas -– then the answer would be John Henry Lloyd. Also: Babe Ruth? Thanks for your input, anonymous St. Louis sportswriter. So clichĂ©.

“but if you mean in all baseball, then the answer would have to be a colored man named John Henry Lloyd.”

I find it very interesting to note the racism apparent in a card that is supposed to be highlighting a league and its players that has gone virtually unnoticed by American history as a result of deep racism. Please recall that the question was, “Who is the greatest player in baseball?” Our esteemed St. Louis sportswriter –- after making the stale observation that Babe Ruth is the best player in “organized” baseball -– responds that if you open the question up to include ALL baseball, which, in fact, the original question did, then John Henry Lloyd would be the answer. Thus, the implication is that the Negro Leagues were not organized baseball. Fantastic.

This card is part of the Ted Williams collection, released in 1993. There are a million awesome things that could have been written about John Henry Lloyd on the back of this card –- the guy friggin hit .564 in 1928 –- but they chose to go with a statement from an unnamed sportswriter who drops the term “colored man.” Fantastic. What else you got?

Lloyd was probably the finest shortstop in black ball.

Oh, that’s what it’s called? I thought it was called baseball. I feel so enlightened. Thanks, Ted Williams collection!

Did you know?

Harvey "Two Scoops" McGillicuty is the all-time silly-slap-boodlekins-fart-ball leader with 733 doozle dops. And a 1.310 OPS.