Oscar Charleston vs. Buck O’Neil Game Three (Best of Nine)

For the third straight game, the score was tied after seven innings played between the Oscar Charleston All Stars and Buck O’Neil All Stars. The difference late in game three was Bullet Joe Rogan.

After giving up four runs over the first four innings, Bullet Rogan decided enough was enough and took control of game three. He pitched scoreless ball the rest of the way, finishing off the complete game by retiring 12 of the final 14 batters. And true to his reputation as perhaps the greatest two way player in Negro League history, Bullet led off the 8th with the eventual game-winning home run, his second straight game with a round-tripper.

Bullet Joe Rogan started his competitive playing career with the elite all-Black 25th Infantry US Army team where he served from 1911 to 1920. Following his discharge, Rogan spent the next 19 years playing for the Monarchs, where he was player manager for several seasons, including leading the Monarchs to their fourth Negro National League championship and the best record in NNL history (62-17) in 1929. As dangerous an offensive threat as he was on the mound, Rogan had a career slash line of .335/.408/.510.

For Buck O’Neil, it was John Donaldson with help yet again from Willard Brown. Brown continued his torrid streak going two for four with two more RBI’s, giving him six through the first three games. Donaldson was not only effective on the mound, giving up just two earned runs, but was as entertaining as ever, playing to the crowd and challenging the game’s best with a fastball that ran away from right-handers and a curve the Oscar Charleston team said was even better.

John Donaldson was Satch before Satch, barnstorming and entertaining all year and all over the country. Some credit him with as many as 400 wins, 5,000 strikeouts, and 14 no-hitters. Eat your heart out, Nolan Ryan.

Oscar Charleston made sure to get Rogan on the mound before the two teams left Muehlebach Stadium where Rogan pitched for many years, taking advantage of not only the stadium, but Rogan’s vast championship series experience. Bullet pitched in the very first Negro National League championship, winning two of the 9 decisions against Hilldale to take home the crown.

Muehlebach Stadium played a big role in the first three games of the series, and Josh Gibson will be happy to move on to some friendlier confines. Gibson is just 2 for 12 with one RBI in the series, but not because he hasn’t been swinging the bat well. The massive dimensions at Muehlebach, 350ft down each of the lines and 450ft to dead center, kept three mammoth shots by the powerful catcher in the ballpark. The batters may not be sad to leave the big park for the cozier Hilldale Park, but all the players will be sad to leave the lively area surrounding the park. Located at Brooklyn and E. 22nd Street, Muehlebach was at the heart of the historic 18th and Vine area which was filled with baseball, jazz and BBQ, and now the home to both the Negro Leagues and Jazz Museums.

With his squad up two games to one, Oscar Charleston happily takes his team to Hillsdale Park in Darby, Pennsylvania, the site of two of his prime seasons with the Hilldale Club. “Charlie” will send Big Bill Foster to the mound to square off against Dick Cannonball” Redding for the Buck O’Neil All Stars.

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