Nickname: Chippy, Public Enemy Number One
a.k.a. George Britton, George Brittain
Positions: p, c, 3b, 1b, 2b, ss, of
Teams: Madison Stars (1920), Dayton Marcos (1920), Columbus Buckeyes (1921), Harrisburg (1922), Baltimore Black Sox (1922-1926), Philadelphia Royal Giants (1925), Homestead Grays (1926-1933), Hilldale Daisies (1929), Detroit Wolves (1932), Newark Dodgers (1934), Columbus Elite Giants (1935), Washington Black Senators (1938), Baltimore Elite Giants (1939), Brooklyn Royal Giants (1940), Jacksonville Red Caps (1942), Chicago American Giants (1942), Cincinnati Buckeyes (1942), Cleveland Buckeyes (1943-1944)
Height: 5' 8'' Weight: 175
Born: 1891, Kings Mountain, North Carolina
A tough competitor who could both pitch and catch, he forged a twenty-five-year career in black baseball. An ideal utility man, he was an all-purpose player who could play every position and look good at all of them. With the 1924-1925 Baltimore Black Sox he was a great catcher and above average as a hitter, batting .315 and .345. But he was most valuable to the Black Sox as a pitcher, earning a 5-4 slate the latter year. He split the 1926 season between the Sox and the Homestead Grays. After doing triple duty with the Grays, he was traded in 1929 with Martin Dihigo, to Hilldale for Jake Stephens and Rev Cannady. Britt had a composite .242 batting average for the 1929 season and was used more sparingly on the mound.
The right-handed curveball pitcher returned to the Grays and played on their outstanding teams of 1930-1931. With Josh Gibson behind the plate, Britt was used mostly as a pitcher on these squads. The statistics from that era suffer from a dearth of data, but a three-year composite for 1930-1932 shows an 8-2 record. The next year, 1933, he was selected to play in the inaugural East-West All Star game, pitching two innings and yielding a run, but also getting a hit in his only at-bat and scoring a run.
He was given the nickname "Chippy" because that is what he called everyone else. He learned to catch from "Chappie" Johnson, and used to cut out padding from his mitt and put a sponge in the pocket. He was known as a tough man, both on the field and off. In 1930, when Ted Page and George Scales got in an argument that led to blows, Britt broke up the fight by grabbing each of them in one arm and separating them. Bitt was one of the four "big bad men" of black baseball (along with Jud Wilson, Oscar Charleston, and Vic Harris), and no one on the team challenged him because, as one observer explained, "He could whip the whole ballclub." During a game in Mexico City he won the title of "Public Enemy Number One" when he dared a detachment of armed revolutionaries to come down out of the stands and fight.
During a career that can only be tracked with a road map, he played with 18 different teams, beginning in 1920, with teams of marginal quality struggling to make it in the Negro National League. Playing as a pitcher-catcher combination, he found little support from the Dayton Marcos during the last part of 1920 and is credited with a 1-3 pitching record for the year. With the Columbus Buckeyes the next year he had an 8-9 record in his first full season. For the next dozen seasons he enjoyed a measure of stability, playing with the Baltimore Black Sox and Homestead Grays most of this time. During the late 1930s and early 1940s his longest stop at any franchise was his last three seasons, when he played with the Cleveland Buckeyes.
After retiring from baseball, he worked as a doorman at a cabaret operated by Buckeyes' owner Ernie Wright. Originally from Cincinnati, Britt made his home in Jacksonville, Florida, during the latter stages of his career.
Source: James A. Riley, The Biographical Encyclopedia of the Negro Baseball Leagues, New York: Carroll & Graf Publishers, Inc., 1994.