Monday, November 16, 2009

Dealing With It

Months ago I was given a photograph by a fellow who sells them. It was a tattered sample of what he promised was to come, and he knew I'd want to buy. But month after month, he apologized that he hadn't been able to get them from his source, a member of the subject's family. This past weekend, he found out why. His source is in prison. So it may be that this is the only one I'll be getting.

It's a picture of an athlete named Forest Maddox, a professional baseball player who had no left arm. He was known to his teammates and the public as "Wing" or "One-Wing." I doubt that bothered him much. In the late 19-teens and early 1920s, he played for the Atlanta Black Crackers, the Knoxville Giants, the Washington (DC) Braves, and the Birmingham Black Barons. A 1921 article in the Washington Post stated that "As an outfielder he amazes spectators by the dexterity with which he catches a ball with his one gloved hand, tosses it into the air, removes the glove and with lightning-like rapidity snatches the ball again and relays it to the infield." He was a pitcher, too. If you've ever read baseball cards, they specify which side a player bats and throws from. It amuses me a little that, for this one-armed player, his stats profile reads: Bats: Right, Throws: Right.

He later taught at his alma mater, Morehouse College, until his death in 1929 at the age of 31.


  1. What a wonderful talent Mr. Maddox was. He would have been a great interview late in life, talking about his one-armed career.

  2. Others who played pro ball with only one arm include Pete Gray during WWII and recently Jim Abbott.

  3. Robert, I found your blog while searching for Forrest Maddox. I'm wondering if I could have permission to post that photo on my blog. I'm researching the Knoxville Giants and it would be a nice addition.

    Thanks for your consideration.