Black Ball – “Pop” Lloyd

Pop Lloyd 1Pop played professional baseball officially from 1908 to 1931, yet loved it so much he decided to remain active on the semi-pro circuit and joked that he wouldn’t hang up his cleats “until a lefty struck him out.” In 1928, at the youthful age of 44, Lloyd hit a league-leading .564 and 11 round trippers in 37 games, while also leading the league with ten base swipes. He remained active in semi-pro ball until 1942, giving up the glove and bat at age 58.

With a lifetime batting average of .339 in the Negro Leagues, .327 against white Major Leaguers, Pop proved he was worthy of playing on any field at any time with anyone in the country.

Nicknamed “The Black Honus Wagner,” Pop Lloyd gained the admiration of Wagner himself, and at the end of a game Wagner attended to watch Lloyd, Honus himself stated, “I am honored that they would name such a great player after me.”

Pop Lloyd 2He was also a student of the game, both Negro League, and Major League. While playing winter ball for the Havana Reds in 1910, Lloyd was told that the Detroit Tigers, and legendary Ty Cobb, were headed south for an exhibition game. Cobb, one of the most feared base stealers of all time, was famous for utilizing his spikes to inflict damage on opponents legs while swiping bases. Pop had other plans, as he wore specially made iron shin guards to protect himself. Cobb was picked off all three times he tried to steal, a feat that was rarely duplicated in the white Major Leagues.

Lloyd remained active in the game, eventually becoming commissioner of the Little League around Atlantic City.

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