The 6'4" 210-lb Redding may have been the hardest-throwing pitcher in black baseball
history. Negro Leaguer Jesse Hubbard said Redding had a better fastball than did
Satchel Paige or Cum Posey. Frank Forbes, Cannonball's teammate on the 1914 New York
Lincoln Giants, said, "Dick Redding was like Walter Johnson. Nothing but speed."
Like Johnson, Redding did not develop a curveball until late in his career. He used
the hesitation delivery decades before Paige made it famous, balancing on one foot
with his back to the hitter before cutting loose his devastating fastball.
first season, 1911, Redding reeled off 17 consecutive wins. Through 1914, he teamed
with Smokey Joe Williams to give the New York Lincoln Giants one of the all-time-great
one-two pitching punches. He went 43-12 in 1912, including a 17-strikeout perfect
game against the Eastern League Jersey Skeeters. He struck out 24 in defeating a
United States League team. Jumping to the Lincoln Stars in 1915, he won 20 straight,
including several games against major league all-star squads. In that year's Black
World Series, he went 3-1 with a shutout over the Chicago American Giants, and batted
Redding fought in France in 1918, then returned as player-manager of the
Bacharach Giants. In 1920 he led them to the Eastern Colored League championship.
He spent 16 years with the Brooklyn Royal Giants, pitching occasionally. Though he
never achieved great managerial success, he was well liked by his players. Hall of
Famer Buck Leonard said Redding "was a nice fellow, easy going. He never argued,
never cursed, never smoked as I recall; I never saw him take a drink." He died in
a mental hospital under mysterious
circumstances shortly after leaving the Royal