African American Baseball in Valdosta

 Henry Franklin, Jr. Collection

In 2009 Mark L. Johnson came by the museum with a very interesting family scrapbook. It contained over ninety photographs, clippings or documents about his father Henry Franklin, Jr. The collection emphasizes his father’s time in professional baseball but also has information on his father as a Valdosta policeman and working with local youth baseball. The museum was allowed to scan every document and make an identical scrapbook.

Valdosta’s Trojans

Included in the collection was a photo of the Valdosta Trojans from 1948. This was a minor league D baseball unit. Mark told that his father and father’s brother, Jimmie Franklin, were a pitcher/catcher combination.

1948 Valdosta TrojansAbove is the 1948 Valdosta Trojans baseball team. When Mark Johnson brought in the photo the players were not identified. He took a copy, made inquiries, and got most of the names or nicknames. Please contact the museum with corrections. Front Row: Amos Ruth, Jack Hodge, Arthur Brown, Willie J. Moran and Harley Williams. Middle Row: “Sugar Pie,” Arthur “Foots” Hall, Cut Edwards, Theo Cheaseburg and Eli Powell. Back Row: Jimmie “Skoombo” Franklin, Henry “Skip” Franklin, Jr., Arthur “Bread” Goodman, Joe Rivers, “Pulpwood” Moore, and Pulpwood Moore’s brother.

Henry Franklin first signed in 1949. He told of playing with the Dodgers in Hornell, New York, in class D, for two years before being promoted to the Class B Lancaster Red Roses. While with Lancaster his team won the pennant one year and the championship the next. He then moved up to Class A playing for the Pioneers of Elmira, New York. His career would span six years in the minor leagues.

Youth Teams

When Henry Franklin returned to Valdosta he remained active in baseball. Mark, his son, said that his father organized the first youth baseball in the Tom Town area as Joe Rivers had organized baseball for the Southside area. Mark Johnson also said that John Kinchen, the Trojan’s manager in 1948, also organized a third area for black youth baseball.