José Méndez - El Diamante Negro

José Méndez - El Diamante Negro

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This week we introduce you to the Negro League Centennial Team (1920 – 2020) which consists of 30 of the greatest African-American and Cuban players from 1895 – 1947.

Today is the second of the March releases José Méndez in his Cuban League Almendares uniform.

José Méndez was known as El Diamante Negro (the Black Diamond), and was a Cuban star elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2006.

The star pitcher would make a name for himself against MLB stars, most famously against the Cincinnati Reds. In 1908 while the Reds were visiting Havana, Méndez would pitch 25 consecutive scoreless innings across 3 outings. Records show he would win 44 of 46 games in 1909.

Over the next several seasons, Méndez would face MLB teams including the 1909 and 1910 Detroit Tigers, 1911 Philadelphia Phillies and New York Giants and 1913 Brooklyn Dodgers and would compile a .595 winning percentage.

After injuring his arm, he would move to Shortstop and split time between the two positions before joining J.L. Wilkinson’s All Nations team. He would eventually go on to play for the Chicago American Giants and Detroit Stars before returning to Kansas City to play for the Monarchs.

Méndez would star in the 1924 Negro League World Series against Hilldale, going 2-0 over 4 games including a shutout in the deciding game.

Méndez would win his last game in Cuba in 1927. He would die two years later at the age of 41, but not before setting the record for winning percentage of .731 for the Cuban League.

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About the Bobblehead:

Each individual will be depicted on a baseball-shaped base with replica of Kansas City’s Paseo YMCA, the site where the Negro National League was organized on February 13, 1920.

The bobbleheads are officially licensed by the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum and approved by the families when applicable.

  • An average of two bobbleheads per month will be released from January 2019 through February 2020
  • Bobbleheads are high quality and produced by the National Bobblehead Hall of Fame and Museum
  • Individually numbered to only 2,020