These articles comes from interesting conversations I’ve been having with Bill Staples, who picks my brain every now and then by e-mail, whenever he can pull himself away from his work. We often discuss African American baseball West of the line that divides this nation almost in half, and both of us ponder the untapped territory of stories that remain untold. New stories that are also intrinsically connected past stories that have been repeated told the masses. The Salt Lake Occidentals is one of those stories.
Salt Lake Occidental Baseball Team, Los Angeles Herald, November 28, 1909
You might have heard of them before. Often referred to as the Occidentals of Los Angeles, is the name most people know it as. They began their life in Salt Lake City, Utah–which helped produce such players as Bill Pettus (1909-1910) and Jude “Judy” Gans (1906-1907). The Los Angeles ‘name’ transition all began, when after winning 94 out of 104 games in Utah, the Salt Lake Occidentals decided to move to Los Angeles and challenge all teams on the Western frontier. All comers were accepted, along with the side bets that followed to make the games interesting.
The Herald-Republican, October 13, 1909
L.A. Herald, October 13, 1909
L.A. Herald October 16, 1909
I believe the Salt Lake Occidentals is where Jude Gans cut his pitching teeth as in 1906.
Occidentals vs. Bells, Salt Lake Tribune, July 13, 1906
By early 1908, after being a leading hurler for the Salt Lake Occidentals for the 1906 and 1907 seasons, Jude Gans was replaced by “Sam” Langford, who was a cousin of the young, Bill Pettus.
L.A. Herald, October 22, 1910
I’m just tossing these articles out here to stir up conversation, get the blood flowing,… see if anyone is interested. Anyone out there from Wyoming, or near Diamondville, ever heard of the “Africans”?