Othello Nelson Renfroe
Nicknames: Chico, Chappy
Positions: ss, of, c, 2b
Teams: Kansas City Monarchs (1945-1947, 1953), Cleveland Buckeyes (1948-1949), Indianapolis Clowns (1949-1950), Mexican League (1950-1952), minor leagues (1954)
Height: 5' 11'' Weight: 175
Born: March 1, 1923, Newark, New Jersey
Died: September 3, 1991, Atlanta, Georgia
A scrappy, versatile player, in 1946 he represented the Kansas City Monarchs in the 1946 East-West All Star game and had the highest batting average in the World Series against the Newark Eagles, hitting .414 while playing at shortstop in all 7 games. After the Series he was a member of Satchel Paige's All-Star team that barnstormed across the country with Bob Feller's All-Stars.
The hustling infielder had only average defensive skills and speed, but was a good base stealer and was adequate afield at several positions. He hit for averages of .232, .245, .296, and .231 for the years 1945-1949 (exclusive of 1947) and, although not a strong hitter, he was a good bunter and hit-and-run man.
His passion for baseball developed from his days as a youngster in Jacksonville, Florida, hanging around the spring training camps of black teams and running errands for the players. He moved to Atlanta during his junior year in high school and enrolled at Clark College after graduation. While continuing his education he also played semi-pro ball until signing with the Kansas City Monarchs in 1945. At that time he was twenty-two years of age, skinny, and fast. The starting shortstop for the Monarchs at that time was Jackie Robinson, but after he signed with the Brooklyn Dodgers' organization, Renfroe became the regular shortstop, batting second in the order.
The next season he shared the second-base position but was dropped to the bottom of the batting order. After being traded to the Cleveland Buckeyes, he moved back to shortstop but continued to bat in the lower part of the order. During the 1949 season he moved to the Indianapolis Clowns until heeding a call from "south of the border" to play with Torreon in the Mexican League in 1950. Before ending his professional career with Minot, North Dakota, in 1954, he also played several winter seasons in various locales. He was a member of Chet Brewer's Kansas City Royals in the California winter league in 1945 and 1947, and toured Venezuela in 1950 with the New York Stars (a team that featured Buck Leonard), and in the Dominican Republic in 1951-1952.
After retiring from baseball in 1954, he returned to Atlanta and worked for the U.S. Post Office. Later he became a sportscaster and sports director for Atlanta radio station WIGO and sports editor for the Atlanta Daily World. He was also a scout for the Montreal Expos and was the first official scorer for the Atlanta Braves.
Source: James A. Riley, The Biographical Encyclopedia of the Negro Baseball Leagues, New York: Carroll & Graf Publishers, Inc., 1994.