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Cool Papa Bell oral history interview, September 26, 1981
Rod Roberts oral history collection
Rod Roberts conducted a series of oral history interviews on behalf of the National Baseball Hall of Fame during the 1980s and early 1990s. James "Cool Papa" Bell was interviewed at his home in St. Louis, Missouri on September 26, 1981. Content of the interview include: Side One -- Track 1 - Birth, May 17, 1903, Starkville, Mississippi; Family; Indian heritage; Stepfather Nichols; Change name back to James Bell in St. Louis; sometimes middle name Thomas; Signing baseball cards (00:00:00 to 00:05:51)Track 2 - On living on grandfather’s farm; great-uncle getting free land (00:05:51 to 00:07:53); Track 3 - More on Indian heritage; shaving n farming (00:07:53 to 00:09:36) Track 4 - Selling food from a wagon; Burying money under trees, bricks; Dividing up inheritance (00:09:36 to 00:20:18); Track 5 - On working on farm; Learning to plow at Mississippi State College experimental station at age 11-12; Seeing others playing baseball; Teaching college students about corn, cotton; White students throwing rocks at him; Rivalry with Old Miss (00:20:18 to 00:28:54); Track 6 - On not being old enough for WWI; classified as married ineligible for WWII; Politics and the President cutting poverty programs (00:28:54 to 00:31:40); Track 7 - On allowing blacks to play in the Major Leagues; Jackie Robinson; Hamilton; Jesse Owens; Racing against horses (00:31:40 to 00:39:46); Track 8 - On Satchel Paige; Cleveland wanting someone from Negro League; Managing Paige; Sportswriters wanting Paige to pitch In Iowa; Returning to Kansas City; Paige throwing 54 strikes in 58 pitches and hitting a matchbox as a tryout for Cleveland; Cleveland signing Paige for $5,000 (00:39:46 to 00:46:05.
Cool Papa Bell played for the following teams in the Negro leagues: St. Louis Stars (1922-1931), Detroit Wolves (1932), Kansas City Monarchs (1932), Pittsburgh Crawfords (1933-1936), Chicago American Giants (1942), and Washington Homestead Grays (1943-1946). Bell also played in the Dominican Republic (1937) and the Mexican League (1938-1941). He was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1974.
Bell, Cool Papa, 1903-1991 -- Interviewee
Baseball Hall of Famers
Baseball players--United States--Interviews
1 of 5
1 sound cassette
Recorded Media Archives
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