All Things Maine
All Things Maine

Thursday, January 26, 2006

New Evidence Favors Louis Sockalexis

Ed Rice—author of Baseball's First Indian—Louis Sockalexis—has found evidence that Sockalexis was indeed the first American Indian to play professional ball.

Sockalexis, born in Old Town in 1871, played 94 games for the Cleveland Spiders from 1897 to 1899. He died Dec. 24, 1913, in Burlington.

By pretending to be his "great-great-cousin," Rice ordered the death record of James Madison Toy—commonly considered the first Native American player—and found that Toy's race was given as "white."
Information about Toy's father included on the death certificate makes Rice confident he has all the evidence he needs to prove that Sockalexis' name should be restored after a National Baseball Hall of Fame historian proclaimed Toy, who was said to be a Sioux Indian, was the first American Indian to play professionally in a 1963 paper.

"I want to turn this argument around," Rice said. "It's 43 years of a hoax as far as I'm concerned. It wasn't a deliberate hoax, but it was a hoax. A document puts me on the offensive rather than the defensive." [Link]
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