When I first put together the story of the execution of James Hugh Moss, former Negro League ballplayer, and the accompanying media coverage of Eula Mae Thompson, the intention was to try to tease out the details of what really may have happened the night Coleman Osborne was killed in Chatsworth, GA, August 5, 1927.
After publication, Larry Granillo of Baseball-Prospectus did more research and helped round out the story, finding further information on the fate of Eula Mae Thompson (including interesting details of her involvement with a second murder after her release from prison).
The one thing that was missing from the story of the ballplayer’s life was any details of his ballplaying career. Thankfully, Gary Ashwill of the excellent Agate Type blog has helped bring some of Moss’s career to light.
What Ashwill finds is that Moss was hardly a Negro League star, in fact, he really only had a cup of coffee at the top level of play. More importantly, however, Ashwill makes this statement:
Larry Granillo, in the comments to his post on Moss, added this: “I would love to know that we can verify at least one fact about his career. It just goes to show how hard Negro Leagues info is to come by and just how great it is to even have the data that we have, incomplete as it is.”
In fact, I think Moss’s case demonstrates the exact opposite of what Larry’s saying here. Keep in mind that as a baseball player he was an extremely marginal figure, essentially the equivalent of someone who pitched part of a spring training game and then spent a few seasons in the minors. The Negro leagues were not some vast impenetrable mystery. It’s often possible, even with limited resources, to dig up quite a bit of information, even about minor players like Moss.
Thank you to Gary Ashwill and Larry Granillo, both, for the work you’ve done to contribute to this story. I’m greatly interested to see what the next contributor may find, too.