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Walter "Rev" Cannady

Walter Cannady
Nickname: Rev

Career: 1921-1945
Positions: 2b, 3b, ss, 1b, p, manager
Teams: Columbus Buckeyes (1921), Cleveland Tate Stars (1922), Homestead Grays (1923-1924, 1929, 1932), Harrisburg Giants (1925-1927), Dayton Marcos, New York Lincoln Giants (1926-1928, 1930), Hilldale Daisies (1928, 1931), Pittsburgh Crawfords (1932, 1936), New York Black Yankees (1933-1939), Brooklyn Royal Giants (1940), Philadelphia Stars, Chicago American Giants (1942), Cincinnati-Indianapolis Clowns (1943-1944), Homestead Grays (1944), New York Cubans (1945)
Bats: Right
Throws: Right
Height: 6'   Weight: 180
Born: March 6, 1904, Lake City, Florida

Although second base was his best position, Rev was an all-purpose player who could play anywhere in the field and play the position well. He was a good fielder in all aspects of defensive play, but was best known for his hitting. Throughout his well-traveled career, he was usually placed in the heart of the batting order, regardless of the team. A bad-ball hitter, he was known as a superior curveball hitter who would wait on a curve and then "jump on it." He also had relatively good speed on the bases, although not excelling as a base stealer. Cannady was quiet but moody and "mean," and other players generally left him alone because of his unpredictability. On one occasion he attacked an umpire and, after being put out of the game, broke the umpire's car windows with a bat. At times he was also lazy and seemingly unconcerned about playing, which introduced an inconsistency in his play.

A versatile fielder and a good power hitter, at Harrisburg in 1926 he was playing shortstop and batting cleanup behind Oscar Charleston. The next season, switching to third base, he hit .317 with seven home runs, and joined with Charleston and John Beckwith to make a formidable batting triad.

Cannady's career can best be traced with a road map. Early in his career, he hit .303 with the Cleveland Tate Stars in 1922, their only year in the Negro National League. Afterward he played with the independent Homestead Grays for two seasons before joining Harrisburg in 1925, where he hit .386 with 11 home runs in 52 games. After the 1927 season he became the property of the New York Lincoln Giants, but the following April he and Red Ryan were traded to Hilldale for Nip Winters and George Carr. In turn, Hilldale traded him and Jake Stephens to the Grays for Chippy Britt and Martin Dihigo in 1929. Back home with the Grays, now a member of the American Negro League, Cannady played shortstop and pounded out a .378 batting average. In 1930 he rejoined the Lincoln Giants and was credited with a .370 batting average. By 1931 he was back with Hilldale, batting .235, but he and Judy Johnson were sent to the Pittsburgh Crawfords in 1932, where Rev hit a respectable .309 before returning to the Grays to finish the season.

A large part of his career was spent with New York-based teams, and after hitting .328 with the Crawfords in 1936, he moved over to the New York Black Yankees during the season. With the Black Yankees in 1937 he got off to a torrid start batting cleanup and hitting .385 through midseason. The following year he hit .321 and, when top vote-getter Ray Dandridge jumped to Venezuela, Cannady started the 1938 East-West game. He responded to his only All Star appearance with a double in three times at bat. After another year with the Black Yankees, batting third in the order while playing three different infield positions, he joined the Brooklyn Royal Giants in 1940, batting cleanup and playing second base.

During the World War II years he played with four different teams, but age had begun to catch up with him and his batting average slipped to .222 in 1944 with the Clowns and the Grays. The next year he closed out his twenty-five-year career, having played every position except catcher and also serving a stint as manager.

Source: James A. Riley, The Biographical Encyclopedia of the Negro Baseball Leagues, New York: Carroll & Graf Publishers, Inc., 1994.

Walter "Rev" Cannady photo

Walter "Rev" Cannady