The Baltimore Black Sox’s Franklin “Doc” Sykes tossed a no-hitter against the Atlantic City Bacharach Giants, 98 years ago today.
On September 11, 1922, during the first game of a Saturday doubleheader at Maryland Baseball Park, Sykes struck out two, walked none and held the Giants hitless as Baltimore topped Atlantic City 2-0. The only blemishes keeping Sykes from a perfecto were errors by right fielder Blainey Hall and third baseman Louis Miller.
Wyman Smith provided the game’s only offense with a two-run homer in the second inning. The Sox also won the nightcap, 5-1.
Post baseball, Sykes was a successful dentist in his hometown of Decatur, Alabama and later practiced dentistry in Baltimore. His testimony in the Scottsboro Boys trial in Alabama challenged the fairness of an all-white jury convicting nine black teenagers falsely accused of raping two white women led to the Supreme Court overruling the guilty verdict and ordering a new trial.
Sykes also fought for fair wages for black ballplayers. For more details on Sykes’ career and life, check out Lawrence Hogan’s The Forgotten History of African American Baseball.
This recognition is much appreciated, Doc Sykes lived a remarkable life. I still have vivid memories of going to Orioles games with him in the early 80s, nattily attired he always wore a three piece suit and smoked a cigar in the stands. Chris Sykes (Doc’s grandson)
Thanks so much for reaching out, Chris. What wonderful memories! I would have loved to chat with you and your grandfather about baseball and life.