Nicknames: Ed, Chief
Positions: owner, officer (Negro National League, Eastern Colored League, American Negro League)
Teams: Hilldale Daisies, Darby Phantoms, Philadelphia Stars
Died: September 17, 1950, Darby, Pennsylvania
A gentlemanly little man, he worked in the Philadelphia post office, and was the owner of the two best-known Negro Leagues teams in the Philadelphia area, the Hilldale Daisies and the Philadelphia Stars. A shy, quiet, and modest man who preferred working in the background instead of in the spotlight, the longtime executive is best known as the owner of the Hilldale team that won the first three Eastern Colored League championships in 1923-1925, and the 1925 World Series over the Kansas City Monarchs. As founder of the Eastern Colored League, he was responsible for the player raids by eastern teams on the more established Negro National League.
He took over the operations for the ballclub in 1916, when the team was a semi-pro team in Darby, Pennsylvania. The team attained major-league status the following season and won a championship in 1921; then came the Eastern Colored League and the three straight pennants. He suffered a nervous breakdown in 1927, and without his leadership the league folded the following spring.
After he recovered his health he organized the Philadelphia Stars in 1933, with the financial backing of white booking agent Ed Gottlieb. After appointing Webster McDonald as manager, Bolden again raided other clubs for players, and entered the Negro National League in 1934, winning the pennant in the first season in the League. In the championship playoff the team defeated the Chicago American Giants. He remained at the head of the Stars until his death in 1950.
In addition to contributions to black baseball as a team executive, he also served as an officer in three different leagues: the Eastern Colored League, the American Negro League, and the Negro National League.
Source: James A. Riley, The Biographical Encyclopedia of the Negro Baseball Leagues, New York: Carroll & Graf Publishers, Inc., 1994.