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Charlie Grant

Charles Grant
Nickname: Charlie, Chief Tokahoma

Career: 1896-1916
Position: 2b
Teams: Page Fence Giants (1896), Columbia Giants (1899-1901), Cuban X-Giants (1903, 1906), Philadelphia Giants (1904-1906, 1913), New York Black Sox (1910), New York Lincoln Giants, Quaker Giants (1909), Cincinnati Stars (1914-1916)
Bats: Right
Throws: Right
Height: 5' 8''   Weight: 160
Born: 1879, Cincinnati, Ohio
Died: 1932, Cincinnati, Ohio

One of the first great black ballplayers, he was a good hitter and a smooth fielder, and starred for the outstanding Cuban X-Giants teams around the turn of the century. Later he became a member of the 1906 champion Philadelphia Giants.

He was light-skinned with straight hair, and John McGraw, managing the American League's Baltimore Orioles at the time, tried to sign the slick-fielding infielder with the Orioles in 1901 by passing him off as an Indian named "Chief Tokahoma." Grant was working as a bellboy at the Eastland Hotel in Hot Springs, Arkansas, and playing on the hotel team for the entertainment of the winter guests when he was discovered by McGraw.

Grant had played the 1900 season in Chicago with the Columbia Giants, and Charles Comiskey, president of the Chicago White Sox, alerted by the response of black fans, was instrumental in the exposure of McGraw's plan, and the attempt to bring a black player into the majors was aborted. Grant returned to the Columbia Giants for the 1901 season and also played with the Page Fence Giants, Lincoln Giants. and New York Black Sox during his career.

Grant's childhood was spent in Cincinnati, where his father was a horse trainer. After retiring from baseball, he returned to his hometown and worked as a janitor in an apartment building. In 1932, while sitting outside the building, a passing car blew a tire, jumped the curb, and hit Grant, inflicting fatal injuries.

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