Nicknames: Dick, King Richard
Career: 1916-1939, 1940-1948
Positions: ss, 3b, 2b, c, manager
Teams: Duval Giants (1915), Atlantic City Bacharach Giants (1916-1918, 1920-1928), Havana Red Sox (1917), Hilldale Daisies (1917-1919), New York Lincoln Giants, Baltimore Black Sox (1929-1932), Philadelphia Stars (1933), Newark Dodgers (1934-1935), New York Cubans (1935), Newark Eagles (1936-1939), Atlanta Black Crackers (1938), Brooklyn Royal Giants, Jacksonville Eagles
Height: 5' 11'' Weight: 180
Born: July 10, 1898, Jacksonville, Florida
Died: January 5, 1965, Jacksonville, Florida
The best shortstop during the 1920s, Lundy bridged the time gap between John Henry Lloyd and Willie Wells. Lundy is generally categorized with them as the three greatest shortstops in black baseball history. A superb fielder with a wide range and an exceptionally strong arm that allowed him to play a deep shortstop, the graceful Lundy polished his skills with quiet professionalism. A great showman who thrived on pressure and performed his most amazing feats with ease in front of large crowds, the big, husky shortstop's sterling play made him one of the greatest gate attractions of his day. A switch-hitter who hit for average and with power, he was a smart base runner who posed a threat on the bases and led the Cuban winter league stolen bases in 1924.
Lundy attended Florida Baptist Academy in St. Augustine, Florida, and later played ball while attending Cookman Institute for two years, 1914-1915. He began his professional career in 1915 as a third baseman with his hometown team, the Duval Giants, of Jacksonville, Florida. With the team he also served as an utility man and played almost every position, including catcher. He came North with the team the following year when they moved to Atlantic City and became the Bacharach Giants. His outstanding ability was immediately recognized and Hilldale, another emerging team, picked him up in the fall of 1917 to play against Joe Bush and other barnstorming major-league all-stars. He was lured away again by Hilldale in the latter part of the 1918 season and remained with the club in 1919, hitting in the third slot. In 1920 his services were so much in demand that he had to go to court because he had signed contracts with three clubs at the same time. In accordance with the court's ruling, he went back to the original Bacharachs' franchise, and for a decade he was a fixture at shortstop and in the heart of the batting order.
When he returned to the Bacharachs, Lundy was on a par with John Henry Lloyd, and when Lloyd joined the team as manager in 1924, he placed himself at second base, acknowledging Lundy's defensive superiority at that time. Lundy, a Lloyd-style player who could do everything (hit, field, run, and throw), was the best shortstop in the East. The Bacharachs' owner, John W. Connors, temporarily based the team in New York in 1921, but the franchise returned to Atlantic City for the duration of the 1920s.
With the Bacharachs he compiled batting averages of .484, .335, .310, .363, .273, .347, .341, .409 and .336 for the years 1921-1929. Defensively he was paired with third baseman Oliver Marcelle to form an almost impregnable left side of the infield, and Lundy earned the sobriquet "King Richard" for his superlative play. A natural leader respected by teammates and opponents alike, Lundy served as team captain in 1923-25. Still comparatively young after ten seasons, his leadership qualities were recognized and he was appointed playing manager from 1926 to 1928, during which time he directed the team to two Eastern Colored League pennants, in 1926 and 1927. Playing in the 1926 World Series against the Negro National League's Chicago American Giants, the classy shortstop hit for a .325 average and stole 6 bases. He batted .250 in the next season's Series, but all in a losing cause as the Bacharachs lost both World Series to the strong Chicago American Giants' team.
After being traded to the Baltimore Black Sox for Ben Taylor, Mac Eggleston, and cash in February 1929 in an exchange of managers, Lundy managed the Black Sox to the American Negro League pennant. During the drive to the pennant, despite being spiked by Lloyd and put out of action for a period of time, Lundy contributed a .336 batting average and 16 stolen bases. That season the Sox boasted of an infield consisting of Lundy, Marcelle, Frank Warfield, and Jud Wilson that was called the "million-dollar infield." The dapper shortstop followed with averages of .321, .307, and .341 while leading the Black Sox to the top spot in the East-West League the latter year. The next two years were spent with the Philadelphia Stars and the Newark Dodgers, and although he was past his prime, he was selected to start the first two East-West All Star games at shortstop for the East. In 1935 he hit .310 to help the New York Cubans to the second-half title and a losing showdown with the great Pittsburgh Crawfords, winners of the first half, in the Negro National League playoffs.
His last years as an active player were spent in Newark, where he still managed to hit .293 in 1937 in a reserve role. While associated with the Newark Eagles franchise, he was instrumental in helping two other great infielders, Ray Dandridge and Willie Wells. As manager of the Newark Dodgers in 1934, he signed Dandridge and played him at the hot corner, and later with the Newark Eagles he coached both Dandridge and Wells, who were part of the new "million-dollar infield" of whom the Eagles boasted.
While making his home in Daytona Beach in 1938, he was steadfastly sought by the Atlanta Black Crackers. He sent several telegrams promising to play with the team before finally reporting. He had been friends with Nish Williams (acting manager at that time) for fifteen years and based his decision to play in Atlanta on their friendship (among other factors). In mid-April, while playing in one of his first games with Atlanta, he was hit on the right arm by a pitch from Mute Banks that fractured his arm, knocking him out of action for several weeks. While waiting for the arm to heal, the thirty-six-year-old infielder did road work to keep his legs in shape. He was still considered one of the best shortstops and best baseball minds in the game, acting as manager after Nish Williams was relieved of that position in the early part of the season until being released to assume the managerial reins of the Newark Eagles for the second half of the season.
He was a natural hitter and a perfect fielder. John McGraw watched him play and said, "I wish I could paint that Lundy white," and, excepting Honus Wagner, labeled him "the greatest shortstop to ever live." He finished his career in the Negro Leagues with a lifetime .330 average. He also had a .341 average to show for eight seasons in the Cuban winter league, and a .344 average in exhibitions against major league opposition.
After ending his career as an active player, he continued as a coach and manager during the '40s. After leaving baseball he returned to his hometown and worked in the Jacksonville Terminal Station as a redcap for many years, until his retirement. He died in 1965 after a lingering illness.
Source: James A. Riley, The Biographical Encyclopedia of the Negro Baseball Leagues, New York: Carroll & Graf Publishers, Inc., 1994.