Pompez put stamp on Negro Leagues
Owner, exec instrumental in creating first Colored World Series
Alejandro "Alex" Pompez never had the title of "mediator" during his 35-year career as an owner and Negro Leagues executive, but his ability to solve problems and serve as peacemaker helped broker peace in the Eastern Colored League in the late 1920s.
Pompez also was instrumental in creating the first Negro League World Series in 1924, another career highlight that makes him a candidate this year in the special Negro League election to the Hall of Fame.
A 12-member voting committee, appointed by the Hall of Fame Board of Directors and chaired by former Major League Baseball commissioner Fay Vincent, will meet Feb. 25-27 to review the final ballots of the candidates. The committee will then vote, and any candidate receiving 75 percent of the votes will be elected to the Hall of Fame and enshrined during the July 30 induction ceremonies in Cooperstown, N.Y., along with Bruce Sutter, Tracy Ringolsby (Spink Award winner) and a Ford C. Frick recipient to be named later in February.
The son of Cuban immigrants, Pompez owned the Cuban Stars of the Eastern Colored League (1923-28) and Negro National League New York Cubans (1935-51), becoming the first Negro League owner to sign Latin American players.
Pompez later worked as a scout and became the international scouting director for the New York/San Francisco Giants. Among the Caribbean players he signed were Juan Marichal, Orlando Cepeda, Tony Oliva, Minnie Minoso, Willie McCovey and Camino Pascual.
The 5-foot-6 Pompez, inducted into the Cuba Baseball Hall of Fame, served as the Negro National League vice president from 1946-48 and was instrumental in establishing the East-West Classic in 1946.
In 1947, the New York Cubans won the Negro World Series, but Pompez could see the writing on the wall, sensing that the Major Leagues were on the verge of being integrated and realized that the Negro Leagues would never be the same.
The following year, he arranged for his Cubans to be a Giants farm club and, through this agreement, the Cubans were able to play at the Polo Grounds when the Giants were on the road.
Giants owner Horace Stoneham often asked Pompez for his recommendations on players from Latin America.
When the Hall of Fame began electing players from the Negro Leagues, Pompez was asked to serve on the committee, and he was responsible for helping to elect the first four classes of Negro Leaguers to the Hall.
Born on May 14, 1890, Pompez passed away on March 14, 1974.
Jim Street is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.