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John Miles

John Miles
Nicknames: Sonnyboy, Mule

Career: 1946-1949
Positions: 3b, of
Team: Chicago American Giants
Bats: Right
Throws: Right
Height: 6' 3''  Weight: 228
Born: August 11, 1922, San Antonio, Texas

A power hitter, he was given his nickname by manager "Candy Jim" Taylor after crushing two home runs in a game. Taylor told the young slugger, "You hit that ball like a mule kicks," and the name stuck. Previously, in San Antonio, where he played basketball in high school and at Sam Phillips Junior College, he had been called "Sonnyboy."

Although he was better known locally for his basketball exploits, he also played semi-pro baseball and, encouraged by Clyde McNeil, tried out with the Chicago American Giants and was signed in 1946. He played all three outfield positions and, although not possessing good speed, had pretty good range and a strong arm. In 1947, while batting .250, he was credited with 26 homers against all competition but, despite his power, usually batted in the lower half of the batting order for his duration with the Chicago American Giants.

Baseball Career Highlights:
"In 1948, I hit 27 home runs. In another game, I hit the two home runs. After hitting the second homer, my manager said, 'you hit as hard as a mule kicks.' That's how I got the nickname, Mule."

Professional/Personal Accomplishments:
In 1942, Miles attended the special Aircraft mechanic Journeyman Rating School in Tuskegee, Alabama, to assist the nation's first African American flying training program, the Black Wings. Throughout the 1950s, Miles coached and managed baseball and basketball teams in San Antonio, Texas. In 1974, he completed a law enforcement course at San Antonio Junior College and became a commissioned officer. In 1991, Miles became an international, free-lance photographer.

Awards, Honors, Titles, Championships,
Schools, Colleges:

• USAF Lackland AFB Certificate of Recognition for Outstanding
   Contribution to the History of Black Americans - 1982
• Holy Redeemer Catholic Church (San Antonio) Role Model
   Award - 1992
• The City of Seguin (Texas) Certificate of Appreciation for
   Participating as the Grand Marshall in the Independence Day
   Parade - 1993
• Villareal Elementary School (San Antonio) Certificate of
   Appreciation - 1993
• Pecan Valley Elementary School (San Antonio) Certificate of
   Appreciation - 1994
• Tuskegee Airmen Lackland AFB Heritage Award: Tuskegee
   Ground Support Maintenance Crew Lackland AFB - 1995

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.

JOhn Miles photo

John Miles