Baseball legend Ted Radcliffe dies at 103

Aug. 11, 2005 at 7:17 PM
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CHICAGO, Aug. 11 (UPI) -- Negro Leagues star Ted "Double Duty" Radcliffe, who was nicknamed by sportswriter Damon Runyon, for pitching and catching double-headers, has died at 103.

The colorful Radcliffe, believed the oldest player to pitch in a professional baseball game when he threw a ball for the Schaumberg Flyers of the Northern League in 1998 suffered from cancer in recent years, WFLD-TV, Chicago, reported Thursday.

Radcliffe batted .283, .298 and .325 over three seasons while posting pitching records of 10-2, 9-5 and 19-8. He played on three of the greatest all-black teams in baseball history, the St. Louis Stars, the Homestead Grays and the Pittsburgh Crawfords, and was member of the legendary 1931 Grays with Josh Gibson, Oscar Charleston, Jud Wilson and Smokey Williams.

Runyon nicknamed Radcliffe "Double Duty" after watching him catch a Satchel Paige shutout in the first game of the 1932 Negro League World Series and pitch his own shutout in the second game. Radcliffe appeared in six East-West All-Star games, three as a pitcher and three as a catcher. He had an estimated 4,000 hits, 400 home runs and won 500 games with 4,000 strikeouts.

Radcliffe lived in a retirement home near U.S. Cellular Field and would throw out the first ball at Chicago White Sox games on his July 7 birthday.

"Double Duty shared such a love for baseball and a passion for life," said White Sox Chairman Jerry Reinsdorf.

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