Sentimental Sunday: Maxwell House Black Baseball Team

My paternal grandfather, Willie Taylor, loved, loved, LOVED, baseball!  But what I didn’t know until now was —  he was the head coach of the all black Maxwell House Company Baseball Team during the 1950’s and 1960’s!

Coach Willie Taylor (standing left) with the all black Maxwell House Baseball Team

I tell you, this photo of my grandfather with the company’s all black baseball team is a true TREASURE!

So what does the history of baseball and Maxwell House have in common? Well, according to, You Know You’re in New Jersey When . . . by Lillian and Nina Africano, the first baseball game in the US was not played in Cooperstown, New York;

the first recorded organized baseball game was played on June 19, 1846, at Hoboken’s Elysian Fields, later site of the Maxwell House Coffee plant.” [1]

I don’t know if  Maxwell House facilities in Jacksonville, FL, and San Leandro, CA had company baseball teams, but the Houston factory sure did and their success kept them playing baseball for many years!

Coach Willie Taylor (facing forward with his arms folded) listens intently with a player and assistant coaches to someone involved with the league

The section of the book titled, “You Know You’re in New Jersey When . . . Diamonds are a Boy’s Best Friend,” goes on to say,

By 1900 baseball had truly become America’s pastime, and practically every town in Jersey had a baseball team. Company teams like the Newark Westinghouse Nine, the Doherty Silk Sox of Paterson, and the Michelin Tire Company team of Millville were among the strongest.”

Jersey wasn’t the only state with popular company baseball teams on the horizon during that time. Texas had some prominent company baseball teams too such as the Alamo Furniture Baseball Team in Houston, Southern Pine Lumber Baseball Team from East Texas, The Southern Select Baseball Team, the Pepsi-Cola Ball Club better known as the Austin 9, and of course — the Maxwell House Baseball Team!

My oldest brother remembers after little league practice watching in “awe” the Maxwell House baseball team pitching and power-hitting on the baseball fields at Finnegan Park — located in the Greater 5th Ward Community! Grand-dad was a quiet man by nature. Oh but when he stepped on a baseball field with his team, he transformed into a force to be reckoned with!

He started coaching the Maxwell House team before I was born. But my brother promises that if I had been old enough to go to games, I would have loved his unique coaching style and his team’s fierce competitive spirit! My brother, who is in his sixties now, says some of the men who grew up around Finnegan Park during that time, still talk about how great Maxwell House played baseball. The fact that they rarely lost a game made them real legends for the company and for Houston’s 5th Ward community too!

 If you recognize any of the players in the photos above, I would love to hear from you.

If you have Coach Willie Taylor in your family research, definitely let me hear from you because . . . I’m claiming kin!

Source Citation:

1. Africano, Lillian, and Nina Africano. “You Know You’re in New Jersey When . . . Diamonds Are a Boy’s Best Friend.” You Know You’re in New Jersey When . . .: 101 Quintessential Places, People, Events, Customs, Lingo, and Eats of the Garden State. First ed. Guilford, CT: Globe Pequot, 2007. 7. Print. You Know You’re In Series.

6 thoughts on “Sentimental Sunday: Maxwell House Black Baseball Team

  1. Pingback: Treasure Chest Thursday: An Employee Celebration | Claiming Kin Genealogy

  2. Pingback: Willie Taylor

    • OMG is right! When I opened the care package and saw these photos along with other photos of my grandfather I was truly overwhelm with all sorts of emotions. I cannot wait for someone looking for their Maxwell House ball player to find me — LOL!

      Like

    • I am beyond giddy over having these photos in my personal family collection. I have learned so much about my grandfather just through the photos a dear family member was gracious enough to send to me.

      I also keep praying that someone looking for information about an ancestor who played with this baseball team will arrive here and be willing to share what they know.

      Thank you for stopping bye!

      Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.