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  • Writer's pictureKirk Jenkins

Previewing the Next Series: the New York Cubans versus the Kansas City Monarchs

We’re four series in for our simulated 1936 Negro League playoffs, and we’ve reached the first seven-game semifinal series: the surprising New York Cubans versus the Kansas City Monarchs. The Cubans were supposed to go quietly in their first series, but so far have staged surprising upsets against the Washington Elite Giants and the Chicago American Giants. On Wednesday, they’ll begin their series with their most imposing opponent yet: the Kansas City Monarchs, who had the leading record in 1936 among independent teams. Today, we’re previewing the Cubans-Monarchs series.

The New York Cubans were led by manager Martin Dihigo, who also played center field, third base and was one of the starting pitchers. Catcher Frank Duncan hit .231 for the year. First baseman Dave Thomas hit .270. Second baseman Francisco Correa hit .301. Third baseman Silvio Garcia hit .308 for the year. Shortstop Anastasio Santaella was the second leading hitter on the team at .339. Left fielder Clint Thomas hit .298. Center fielder Lazaro Salazar led the team in home runs and hitting at .341. Right fielder Clyde Spearman hit .333. (Manager Martin Dihigo led the team in home runs with nine and hit .299 for the year).

The Cubans went with a four-man rotation for most of the season. Chet Brewer had an ERA of 4.29. Neck Stanley was at 3.41 for the year. Manager Dihigo was 6-2 in 1936 with an ERA of 3.69. Spot starters Johnny Taylor and Lazaro Salazar had ERA of 4.77 and 1.73, respectively. Among the relief corps was Luis Tiant, the father of the star pitcher for the Boston Red Sox. Tiant had a meh season in 1936 with an ERA of 5.30.

Turning to the Kansas City Monarchs, their regular eight began with catcher Harry Else, who hit .273. First baseman Curtis Harris hit .298 in 1936. Second baseman Newt Allen hit .256. Third baseman Pat Patterson burned up the circuit, hitting .458. Hall of Famer Willard Brown as the shortstop and hit .383. Left fielder Henry Milton hit .318. Center fielder Eddie Dwight hit .300 on the year. Right fielder LeRoy Taylor hit .366.

The Monarchs spread their starting duties among a number of different pitchers, so it’s difficult to discern a regular rotation in their statistics. Floyd Kranson was 3-0 with an ERA of 3.33. Barney Morris was also 3-0; he had an ERA of 1.57. Lefty Wilson had an ERA of 5.02. Andy Cooper pitched a couple of great games and finished with an ERA of 0.00. Hall of Famer Bullet Rogan, nearing the end of his career, started one game and had a zero ERA. Hall of Famer Hilton Smith started one game too, but it didn’t go so well – ERA, 9.00

In two days, we’ll be at Muehlebach Field in Kansas City for Game 1 – the New York Cubans versus the Kansas City Monarchs.

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