Louis Santop

Catcher

Class of 2006

Louis Santop

Catcher

Class of 2006
Louis Santop was called the first Negro League superstar.

Games

Birth year

About Louis Santop

Louis Santop has been called “the first of the great Negro League sluggers,” and “the first Negro League superstar.”

Born in Fort Worth, Texas, Santop was physically large for his day, standing 6-foot-4 and weighing in at 240 pounds. Primarily a catcher, he also played the corner infield and outfield positions. He was known as “Big Bertha,” after a large piece of German heavy artillery.

While he was a gifted slugger who hit mammoth drives in the Dead Ball Era, he also hit for extremely high averages in the upper .300s and lower .400s.

Santop broke in with the Fort Worth Wonders in 1909, and the following season played with the Philadelphia Giants, where he formed the famous “kid battery” with Cannonball Redding. For the next four seasons, Santop caught for the New York Lincoln Giants, where he formed a future Hall of Fame battery with Smoky Joe Williams.

In 1915, he played briefly with the Chicago American Giants, before returning East to play with the Lincoln Giants. The two teams met in the postseason championship, and ended up tied.

He also played in the Black World Series for the Hilldale Daisies in 1921, 1924, and 1925, winning in ’21 and ’25.

Santop was an outgoing player and an exuberant drawing card, earning as much as $500 per month in the 1910s and 1920s. There are stories of him calling his home run shots, and he often gave pregame throwing exhibitions, throwing a ball over the center field fence while standing at the catcher’s position, and then crouching and firing repeatedly to each infielder – amazing onlookers with his powerful arm.

He served in the United States Navy in 1918 and '19.

In exhibitions against white major leaguers, Santop is remembered for having outhit Babe Ruth in a 1920 postseason series, notching three hits against Carl Mays of the Yankees. In a 1917 series, Santop recorded six hits in three games against Chief Bender and Joe Bush.

Santop passed away on Jan. 6, 1942. He was elected to the Hall of Fame in 2006.

The Basics

Year inducted
2006
Birth Place
Fort Worth, Texas
Birth Year
1889
Died
1942, Philadelphia Pennsylvania

Career at a Glance

Primary Team
Hilldale Daisies
Primary Position
Catcher
Bats
Left
Throws
Right
Played For
Philadelphia Giants, 1911
New York Lincoln Giants, 1912
New York Lincoln Giants, 1914-1916
Brooklyn Royal Giants, 1917-1918
Hilldale Daisies, 1918
Brooklyn Royal Giants, 1919
Hilldale Daisies, 1919-1926

Career MLB Stats

Games
160
At bats
1,209
Runs
196
Hits
399
Doubles
66
Triples
22
Home Runs
16
RBI
210
Stolen Bases
34
Walks
92
Batting Average
Ops
On Base %
Slugging %

Louis Santop Stories

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Negro Leagues Researchers and Authors Group