Cowan F. Hyde
Positions: 2b, lf, cf, rf
Teams: Memphis Red Sox (1924, 1927), Birmingham Black Barons (1930), Indianapolis Athletics (1937), Cincinnati Tigers (1937), Memphis Red Sox (1938-1950), Mexican League (1940). Palmer House All-Stars (1940), minor leagues (1949-1954), Chicago American Giants (1950-1951), Canadian League (1951)
Height: 5' 8'' Weight: 150
Born: April 10, 1908, Pontotoc, Mississippi
Died: November 20, 2003, St. Louis, Missouri
With exceptional speed on the bases, this Memphis Red Sox outfielder could run as fast looking back as anyone in baseball, and he was a good base stealer. In 1937 with the Cincinnati Tigers, manager "Double Duty" Radcliffe gave him a green light to run when he could get a good jump. When Radcliffe managed a team, he always wanted Hyde on it, so the pair went to Memphis together the next year, and Hyde was the left fielder on the 1938 Negro American League first-half champion Memphis Red Sox.
A good hitter and a fast runner, he usually batted leadoff, but he had a low walk ratio and sometimes also hit in the second or third slots. A right-handed hitter, Bubba hit for averages of .313 in 1942 and .278, .275, and .298 in 1944-1946, with slightly better than average power. In 1948 he hit .274 for the Red Sox and then hit .292 with the Chicago American Giants in 1950. During his career he played on two West All Star squads in 1943 and 1946, getting a composite 2 hits in 3 times at bat.
Hyde had his first trial with the Memphis Red Sox when he was only fourteen years old, but he got homesick and did not stay with the team, choosing instead to return home and prepare for college. He attended Morris Brown College and, despite his slight stature, played football. After attending college he returned to the Red Sox and stayed this time, although his success was not immediate. In 1927 he is credited with a .190 average with the Red Sox. Three years later he was playing with the Birmingham Black Barons, and he hit .237 for the 1930 season.
During his career he also played second base when circumstances required his services in the infield. Most of his career was spent with the Memphis Red Sox, but he jumped the team once to play in Mexico, batting .306 with Santa Rosa in 1940. Returning to the United States in August, he finished the year with the Palmer House All-Stars, a Chicago-based independent team.
In 1949 he played in organized baseball with Bridgeport, Connecticut, under manager Jimmy Foxx and hit .327. He also played in the Mandak League for five years, beginning with the Elmwood Giants (1950-1951), hitting .315 and .348, and then spending a season with Winnipeg (1952) before playing two years with Brandon (1953-1954), hitting .292 the former year. In 1951 he also played part of the season with Farnham in the Canadian Provincial League. Earlier in his career he played winter ball with the Baltimore Giants (1943) and the Kansas City Royals (1946), batting against the top major-league pitchers in exhibition games, including Bob Feller, Bob Lemon, and Johnny Sam.
Baseball Career Highlights:
Hyde was the lead-off batter for the Memphis Red Sox for more than a decade, despite being 30 years old when he became a full time member of the team. Today, Hyde holds the distinction of having played in the Negro Leagues earlier than anyone else still living.
An alumnus of Rusk College in Holly Springs. Mississippi, and Morris Brown College in Atlanta, Georgia, Hyde played professional baseball until 1954, when he was in his mid-40s. In 1949, he played in Bridgeport, Connecticut, for the Boston Braves system, batting .327. Hyde concluded his baseball career in Canada.
He worked for General Cables Corporation for 25 years and retired in 1978. Hyde has always been active in the community. He coached little league baseball for three years and volunteered with Meals on Wheels for 15 years. As a 45-year member of Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church, he currently serves on the finance committee.
Awards, Honors, Titles, Championships,
• Outstanding Citizen's Award (Northside Preservation
Commission, St. Louis, Missouri) - 1993
• St. Louis Baseball Hall of Fame Inductee - 1995
• African American History Award (Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority,
East St. Louis, Missouri) - 1998
NLBM Legacy 2000 Players' Reunion Alumni Book, Kansas City Missouri: Negro Leagues Baseball Museum, Inc., 2000.
James A. Riley, The Biographical Encyclopedia of the Negro Baseball Leagues, New York: Carroll & Graf Publishers, Inc., 1994.