William Benjamin Felder
Nicknames: James, Benny, Billy
Positions: ss, 3b
Teams: Newark Eagles (1946-1947), Indianapolis Clowns (1948), Philadelphia Stars (1951), minor leagues (1952-1954)
Height: 5' 9'' Weight: 170
Born: December 9, 1926, Tampa, Florida
The hustling infielder was an adequate gloveman, but at best only a mediocre hitter without appreciable power. He was a shortstop with the Newark Eagles and Indianapolis Clowns in the late 1940s but could also play second base or third base. The youngster was enthusiastic but didn't possess sufficient talent, especially with a bat, to stick with the black big-league clubs, batting only .151 in 1948. He was with the Philadelphia Stars in 1951, playing both shortstop and third base, but the Negro Leagues were no longer of major-league caliber by then.
The following season, with the doors to organized baseball opened, he played with Key West in the Florida International league but managed only a meager .176 batting average. With Pampa in the West Texas-New Mexico League the following two seasons he was more consistent with the bat, recording averages of .301 and .302. During the latter part of the 1954 season he played with Artesia in the Longhorn League, in his last appearance in organized baseball, and batted .295 in 23 games.
Baseball Career Highlights:
"Playing with the Newark Eagles against the Kansas City Monarchs, in the 1946 World Series, I hit a grand slam my first time at bat even though I'd been in the hospital for two weeks after getting beaned in Texas. And we (Newark) won the championship!"
Felder was a "Class A" contractor in Florida, owned and operated a "first class" service station in Tampa for 45 years. He coached little league baseball for 12 years.
Awards, Honors, Titles, Championships,
• Negro Leagues World Series Champions (Newark Eagles) - 1946
• New Mexico Champions - 1953
• Little League Champs - 1969-1971
NLBM Legacy 2000 Players' Reunion Alumni Book, Kansas City Missouri: Negro Leagues Baseball Museum, Inc., 2000.
James A. Riley, The Biographical Encyclopedia of the Negro Baseball Leagues, New York: Carroll & Graf Publishers, Inc., 1994.