Sunday, March 1, 2009

QUINCY TROUPPE - Dublin's All Star Player

Dublin's All Star Player

Quincy Trouppe was born in Dublin on Christmas Day of 1912. He was the youngest of ten children. His family's last name, originally spelled Troupe, was taken after the Civil War. His ancestors were probably slaves of Gov. George M. Troup of Dublin. The Troupes moved to St. Louis around the time of World War I.

Trouppe broke into professional baseball as a catcher in 1931. The St. Louis Stars of the Negro Leagues signed Trouppe to a contract which paid him $80.00 per month. The Stars won the league championship that year. In 1932 he played with the Detroit Wolves, the Homestead Grays and the Kansas City Monarchs. The following year he played for the Bismark Cubs and Chicago American Giants, the champions of 1933. Trouppe played with the Bismark Cubs from 1934 through 1936. After retiring in 1937, he came back to play with the Indianapolis ABC's for 2 years. In 1938, the fans voted Trouppe to the Western Division All Star team as an outfielder.

Trouppe spent eight seasons in the Mexican Leagues with the Monterey and Mexico City teams from 1939 to 1944 and from 1950 to 1951. While playing and managing in Mexico, Trouppe hit .307, .337, and .306 with Monterey and .364 and .301 with Mexico City. Trouppe sought the help of the Mexican League President in 1944 to allow him to continue playing in Mexico. Trouppe returned from Mexico late in 1944 to become a player/manager of the Cleveland Buckeyes. Trouppe led the Buckeyes to the championship of the Negro American League. While hitting only .245 during the regular season, Trouppe hit .400 leading the Buckeyes to a sweep of Josh Gibson and the Homestead Grays in the World Series. Quincy Trouppe finished his last two seasons with Buckeyes hitting .313 and .352. His team won one more American League pennant, but lost the World Series to the New York Cubans. Trouppe then played for the Chicago American Giants in 1948, hitting .342 with 10 home runs. He then left the country again to play for Drummondville, Canada of the Provincial League in 1949 where he hit for a .282 average. In 1950 and 1951 Trouppe returned to the Mexican League playing for Guadalajara and hitting .283 and .252.

During the off seasons he played in the winter leagues in Cuba (1950-1), Columbia (1953-4), Venezuela (1945-7, 1951-3), Puerto Rico (1941-2, 1944-5, 1947-50), and enezuela. It was during one of his eight seasons in Mexico that he added the extra "p" to his last name. Trouppe managed the Caguas team to the Championship of the 1947-8 Winter League in Puerto Rico.

During the latter half of his career, Trouppe was considered one of the best catchers in the league. He was known for his superior handling of pitchers. He earned the nickname of "Big Train" and "Baby Quincy." Trouppe, a somewhat powerful switch hitter, used a heavy bat and was a good curve ball hitter. Most of his power came from the right side. A typical catcher, Quincy was not too swift on the base paths. Among his teammates were the legendary Stachel Page, "Cool Papa" Bell, Buck Leonard, Ray Dandrige, and Josh Gibson. Until 1947 Negro leaguers were systematically excluded from the major leagues. After fellow Georgian Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier, Negro leaguers slowly began to get positions on major league teams. The Cleveland Indians, who had signed the first Negro Leaguer in the American League, decided to give Quincy Trouppe a tryout. Quincy reported to spring training in 1952. At the age of thirty nine he had a hard time competing with the young defensive star catcher Jim Hegan. Hall of Fame Cleveland pitcher, Bob Feller, described Trouppe as "having a likeable personality and very hard- working." Feller knew nothing of Quincy's hitting skills, but he stated that "Quincy was a very good receiver. He had an excellent arm, kind of like a Roy Campanella or Gabby Hartnett. He was very good calling pitches and blocked the bad pitches well." Feller had seen Quincy when he played for the Buckeyes and remembered that "he was a very good manager and a true gentlemen."

Quincy played in six games and managed only one hit in ten at bats. Trouppe didn't think he had gotten the chance he deserved and declined the Indians offer to play on their Triple A farm team in Indianapolis. The St. Louis Cardinals hired Trouppe as a scout from 1953 through 1956. Quincy lost a chance to sign future Hall of Famer, Ernie Banks. He tried to sign Roberto Clemente with the Cardinals, but lost out to the Pirates.

Quincy Trouppe was an all star in 17 of his 23 seasons in the Negro League. He spent seven years as a catcher- manager. He played in five East/West All Star Games, with his team winning each time. He ended his career with a .311 lifetime batting average, 25th highest in the history of the Negro Leagues. Quincy was selected an all-star in half of his twelve seasons in winter ball with a lifetime batting average of .304 in the Mexican League and .254 in Cuba.

In his latter years Quincy Trouppe became somewhat of an archivist of the Negro Leagues. In 1977 he wrote an unpublished autobiography "20 Years Too Soon." His collection of memorabilia and information led to the establishment of a Negro League Hall of Fame in St. Louis and was used by Ken Burns in his PBS documentary, "Baseball." Quincey Trouppe died in Creve Coeur, Missouri on Aug. 10, 1993.

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