#Spotlight – This week as part of Black History Month, we introduce you to John Henry "Pop" Lloyd. Generally considered the greatest shortstop in Negro league history.
Pop Lloyd was known for many things during his baseball career. One was team movement (12 teams in 27 years). Second was his baseball prowess which was universally acclaimed.
In 1907, Lloyd moved from the Cuban X Giants to the Philadelphia Giants where he would play under manager Sol White. White would teach Lloyd to play shortstop, a position that would place him as the Negro Leagues all time great and rivaled Honus Wagner as one of Baseball's all time greats.
In 1910, Lloyd would move to Rube Foster’s Chicago Leland Giants, and this "All-Star" team led by Lloyd, Foster, Bruce Petway and Pete Hill would win 123 of 129 games that year.
The subsequent seasons would see Lloyd move around again, with one of the highlights coming with a head to head battle against a major league All-Star team with Honus Wagner. Upon hearing the comparisons of their play, Wagner is believed to have said "I am honored to have John Lloyd called the black Wagner. It is a privilege to be compared to him."
When the Negro National League was formed, Lloyd's old Manager and teammate Rube Foster, would convince Lloyd to manage the the Columbus Buckeyes. While the team wasn't very good, Lloyd again starred both at the plate and in the field.
1923 would see the formation of the Eastern Colored League and the Hilldale Daisies, who brought Lloyd to the team as the player-manager. Lloyd would lead them to the championship while hitting .349.
Five years later at the age of 44, Lloyd would hit .383 for the Lincoln Giants.
The 1929 season, with Lloyd turning 45 would see him hit .369.
The Atlantic City municipal baseball park was named as Pop Lloyd Field in October 1949. Inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1977, his plaque would read, “Regarded as finest shortstop to play in Negro Baseball. Scientific hitter batted over .400 several times during his 27-year career. Personified best qualities of athlete both on and off the field. Instrumental in helping open Yankee Stadium to Negro baseball in 1930. Managed more than ten seasons.”