Walter Newton Joseph
Nicknames: Newt, Pep
Positions: 3b, 2b, manager
Teams: Kansas City Monarchs (1922-1935), Satchel Paige's All-Stars (1939)
Height: 5' 6'' Weight: 185
Born: October 27, 1899, Montgomery, Alabama
Died: January 19, 1953, Kansas City, Missouri
A gutty hustler, always full of pep and chatter, this husky little third baseman was "chesty" and made the most of his modest natural talents. He was the Kansas City Monarchs' third baseman during the 1920s and early 1930s, when he and second baseman Newt Allen were roommates and were almost inseparable. On the field he was hotheaded and sometimes even mean, and off the field he was mischievous, sometimes shooting rabbits out of the bus window. He had a good arm but not good hands. Although weak on sharply hit balls, he excelled on slowly hit balls and bunts, scooping up the ball and making the throw to first base without raising up.
The strong-wristed batter hit a clutch home run to clinch the 1923 Negro National League pennant, the first of three consecutive flags the Monarchs captured. He had his best years in 1924-1925, when he hit .334 and .326 as the Monarchs copped back-to-back pennants and faced the Eastern Colored League champion Hilldale club in the World Series each year. The Monarchs won the first encounter but lost the rematch in 1925. Joseph followed with a .296 batting average as the Monarchs barely missed their third consecutive flag in 1926. For the next four seasons, usually batting in the lower half of the batting order, he posted averages of .290, .264, .283, and .269 before the Monarchs dropped out of the Negro National League. During most of the 1930s the Monarchs played as an independent barnstorming team, but later in the decade they joined the Negro American League while maintaining a second Monarchs team which continued barnstorming.
Reared in Muskogee, Oklahoma, he began his career as a catcher and pitcher, and hitchhiked to Kansas City, where he demanded a uniform and was given one as a joke. He soon abandoned the idea of being a batteryman and switched to third base, where he found a home. A smart player, he was an expert at stealing signals, and later in his career he became the manager of the Monarch's traveling team that featured Satchel Paige and was sometimes billed as Satchel Paige's All-Stars.
After retiring from baseball he owned a taxi stand in Kansas City that served as a center for sports discussions until shortly before his death from tuberculosis in 1953.
Source: James A. Riley, The Biographical Encyclopedia of the Negro Baseball Leagues, New York: Carroll & Graf Publishers, Inc., 1994.