Positions: 1b, of
Teams: Birmingham Black Barons (1941-1942), Cincinnati Clowns (1943), Cincinnati-Indianapolis Clowns (1945), Indianapolis Clowns (1946-1949), Minneapolis St. Paul Gophers, Detroit Stars (1958)
Height: 6' 6'' Weight: 190
Better known as a member of the world-famous Harlem Globetrotters' basketball team, Tatum was also a flashy-fielding showman with the Indianapolis Clowns. At first base he provided a big target for infielders and entertained the fans with his long arms and a big stretch. Although better known for his glovework, Tatum started the 1947 All Star game for the West squad and banged out 2 hits in 4 times at the plate. The next spring he was incapacitated when stricken with appendicitis and hit only .226 for the year.
Although gaining most of his baseball recognition with the Clowns, he began his professional career with the Birmingham Black Barons in 1941 and spent two seasons in Birmingham before joining the Clowns when they were located in Cincinnati. His hitting was not exceptional, with batting averages of .250 and .282 in 1945-1946, but the Philadelphia Phillies wanted to sign him and offered him $1,000 per month. However, they planned to send him to the minor leagues, and he declined their offer. Tatum was considered very moody, and once stabbed Kansas City Monarchs' pitcher Hilton Smith with a screwdriver. While recognized as a great basketball player, he was only mediocre on the baseball diamond.
Source: James A. Riley, The Biographical Encyclopedia of the Negro Baseball Leagues, New York: Carroll & Graf Publishers, Inc., 1994.