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  • Writer's pictureKirk Jenkins

Game 1 of the (Simulated) 1942 Negro League World Series – Kansas City Monarchs vs. Homestead Grays

Today we’re at Griffith Stadium in Washington D.C. for Game 1 of the (Simulated) 1942 Negro League World Series, matching the champions of the Negro American League, the Kansas City Monarchs of manager Frank Duncan and the champions of the Negro National League, the Homestead Grays of manager Vic Harris. Duncan will be sending Jack Matchett to the mound for the Monarchs, while Harris will counter with Roy Welmaker.

Welmaker started the top of the first wild, walking both Billy Simms and Ted Strong. But Welmaker managed to coax center fielder Willard Brown into grounding into a 5-4-3 around-the-horn double play to end the inning. The Grays matched the Monarchs’ threat in the bottom of the first as David Whatley led off with a single up the middle, Jerry Benjamin sacrificed him over to second and Buck Leonard walked. But Matchett managed to strike out Josh Gibson and get Sam Bankhead on a fly ball to right to end the inning.

With one out in the top of the fourth, Bonnie Serrell crushed a double into the left-center field gap. Jesse Williams beat out an infield hit on a bouncing ball which Grays’ second baseman Matt Carlisle gloved deep in shallow right field between first and second. Catcher Frank Duncan hit another bouncing ball to Carlisle – this time, Carlisle opted for the sure out at first, allowing Serrell to score the first run of the game. Pitcher Jack Matchett followed with a single to left, moving Williams over to third before Billy Simms ended the inning with a fly ball to center.

The Grays answered in the bottom of the fourth. With two outs, Howard Easterling stroked a single into right-center field. Left fielder and player-manager Vic Harris followed Easterling by crushing a 3-0 pitch from Matchett for a booming two-run home run to straightaway right.

Both sides continued to put men in scoring position as the game continued. In the bottom of the fifth, David Whatley led things off with a base hit to left. After Jerry Benjamin hit a pop up gloved in foul territory by third baseman Bonnie Serrell and Buck Leonard was out on a ground ball to third, Josh Gibson was – not surprisingly – intentionally walked to put men on first and second. But Sam Bankhead grounded a breaking ball on the outside corner to third for the third out.

In the top of the eighth, the Monarchs broke the game wide open on multiple defensive breakdowns by the Grays. Ted Strong led things off with a sharp single to right and Willard Brown sent him to third with a line drive to almost exactly the same spot. Buck O’Neil reached on a one-base error by first baseman Buck Leonard, as Strong singled and Brown moved to second. Bonnie Serrell loaded things up on a one-base error by second baseman Matt Carlisle. Jesse Williams then scored Brown and O’Neil on a two-base error by third baseman Howard Easterling. After a ground ball from Frank Duncan, pitcher Hilton Smith scored the Monarchs’ fifth and sixth runs with a base hit into the right field corner.

Notwithstanding the lead, the Monarchs came out aggressively in the top of the ninth. Ted Strong led things off with a single up the middle, but he was caught stealing. Willard Brown stroked a single to left one pitch later, and when he took off for second, he managed to steal the base. Buck O’Neil then scored the Monarchs’ seventh run with a single to left-center. The Grays were out 1-2-3 in the bottom of the ninth to bring Game 1 to an end.

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