Newspaper column about John Donaldson as a pitcher for the All-Nations, creates a big following.

Back to John Donaldson's Homepage
The article reads:
JOHN DONALDSON, PITCHER,
HAS BIG FOLLOWING IN WEST

    Independent baseball in the Northwest knows no bigger attraction than John Donaldson, the famous pitcher. For wherever this flinger happens to toss his baseball glove there thousands of fans gather where otherwise only a handful would turn out to see the town team play.
    Donaldson gained his large following in this neck of the woods, not alone on his phenomenal performances of the last few years, but also through his brilliant exhibitions of years before, starting in 1912, when he first pitched independent baseball.
    During those early years when he twirled for the All-Nations team of Des Moines, Iowa, he was hailed as one of the pitching marvels of the era. Famous baseball managers, major leaue sluggers against whom he had occasion to pitch, hailed him as a wonder. He was considered better than most of the mound stars pitching in the big show in his best days, yet he had to remain on the "outside looking in," wimply because of organized baseball's discrimination against Race ball players.
    He dished up baseball to such terrific sluggers as Hal Chase, Bunny Brief, Earl Smith of the Pirates, Cotton Tierney, who now wears a Minneapolis uniform. Casey Stengel, home run hero of the world's series in 1922, and countless others. They are said to have marveled at his burning speed, remarkable control and baffling curves. He pitched against some of the best semi-professional teams in the counry during the tours of the All-Nations team, and rarely suffered defeat.
    It was common for him to whiff from 10 to 15 batsmen a game and turn teams back with few widely scattered hits. He has pitched a number of hitless and runless games during his 15 years of baseball. Yet in all those years, according to Donaldson, who was in Minneapolis Saturday, stopping over on his way to Lismore, Minn., where he is to play this year, he never has enjoyed the huge following that he had won in Minnesota in the last few seasons.
    It was only natural that Donaldson, who has gained such an enviable reputation in baseball, should meet with instant success when he chose to cast his lot with independent teams in Minnesota. It was two years ago that he decided to invade the Gopher state.
    Bertha, Minn., a town of no more than 500 inhabitants, became baseball mad when Donaldson was hired to pitch for the town team in 1924. Spectators by the hundreds in close proximity to Bertha swelled the population of the town to five and ten times its own size on Sundays to see the noted hurler in action.
    He "burned them over the plate" while in a Bertha uniform and the town got behind Donaldson and made him a lucrative offer to pitch the following season. Donaldson accepted and had another very successful year, mowing down Bertha's most bitter diamond rivals in order. In the two years he pitched for Bertha he engaged in 28 conflicts, wining 23 of them. He pitched one of his several no-hit games last year, striking out as many as 15 and 18 men a game.
    This season, however, he transferred his services to Lismore, which town made him an exceedingly flattering offer to play and captain the team there. Just as Bertha became baseball mad with the coming of Donaldson, so is Lismore all excited, awaiting the opening of the season May 2 against Ellsworth, when the big hero will take his place in the box in a Lismore uniform for the first time.
    Donaldson, who is 34 years old, began his independent baseball career in 1912 after leaving George Smith College, Sedalia, MO., where he attended one year. He was graduated from the Avons grammar school of Glasgow, Mo., his home town.
    He joined the All-Nations team of Des Moines, Iowa, and pitched that team to the national Negro championship. He performed for many other Colored teams in the early days of his career. In 1918 he turned in a game of which he is most proud, despite the fact that he was defeated.
    It was in that year he pitched against John McGraw's New York Giants and although defeated, 1 to 0, Snyder's triple late in the game with a runner on base accounting for the only run, his mound work opened the eyes of the major league stars against whom he performed.
    Despite his 34 years Donaldson claims that his arm is as good as it ever was. He points to his record of the last two years to bear out his statement. In 50 games pitched during the seasons of 1924 and 1925 he lost only eight games against the fastest independent teams in Minnesota.
    Clean living habits have prolonged his pitching career, Donaldson explained.
Chicago Defender Article about John Donaldson