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Adairsville • Cassville • Cartersville • Euharlee •
Kingston • Lake Allatoona • Summer Hill

On December 12, 2018, at the Negro LeagueBaseball Museum in Kansas City, Missouri, Museum President Bob Kendrick, with historian Jay Caldwell, announced the Negro League Centennial Team. The team was a key part of the Museum’s celebration in 2020 of the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Negro Leagues. The team of 30 players, a manager, and an owner was to honor the greatest Negro League players of all-time. 1  Of the 19 position players on the team, only one was not already enshrined in the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York — Herbert Alphonso “Rap” Dixon. 2

Further affirmation of Rap Dixon’s greatness was provided 70 years earlier when in 1949, the greatest of all Negro League outfielders, Oscar Charleston, was asked by a reporter from the Philadelphia Evening Bulletin for his all-time Negro League lineup, Charleston, whose career began before the Negro Leagues were organized, and ended several years after their demise as a major league, offered his team. In the outfield he placed future Hall of Famers Martin Dihigo in left and Cristobal Torriente in right … between that pair, at his old position of center field, he inserted Rap Dixon. High praise indeed for a lesser-known player
among the pantheon of Negro League stars. 3

A 6-foot-1, 185-pound 4  dynamo who batted and threw right-handed, and played all three outfield positions, Dixon was a classic five-tool player: hitting for both power and average, running, fielding, and throwing. He also had a knack for performing well on the big stage. During his 16-year career, he was a key player on great teams in the Negro Leagues as well as in offseason leagues and a tour of Japan. Herbert Alphonso Dixon was born on September 15, 1902, in Kingston, Georgia, about 56 miles northwest of Atlanta. He was the first of John and Rosa Goodwin Dixon’s five children. 5  Herbert and his younger brother Paul (also a future Negro League outfielder) developed their rudimentary baseball talents in Georgia’s rural farm country.

Just prior to the First World War, Rosa’s brother Oliver P. Goodwin accepted a position in Steelton, Pennsylvania, as pastor of the First Baptist Church. Steelton lies along the Susquehanna River south of the state capital of Harrisburg. Shortly thereafter, additional Dixon and Goodwin families, including John and Rosa Dixon, headed north for greener pastures joining approximately 1.6 million African Americans opting to leave the south as part of the Great Migration.

1  Matt Campbell, “Negro League Players Could be Bobbleheads — with Enough
Support,” Kansas City Star, December 14, 2018.
2  The argument could be made for John Donaldson and Buck O’Neil as position
players, but Donaldson made his reputation as a pitcher and O’Neil as a manager.
3 “Jackie, Larry Snubbed in All-Time Team Poll,” New York Age, July 16, 1949: 16.
4  Rap can be found listed anywhere from 5-foot-11 to 6-foot-2.
5  Rachel was born about 1905; twins, Paul, and Pauline, 1907; and John W., 1909.

Reprinted with permission from Ted Knorr and Chris Palfrey



African American

Heritage Trail

Bartow County, Ga

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