Herold Gordon was a slight (5-9, 162 pounds) right-handed pitcher in the Negro Leagues in the late 1940’s and 1950’s. He played for a number of teams, including the Cincinnati Crescents, the San Francisco Sea Lions, and Chicago American Giants.
Some may think that Gordon earned his nickname of “Beebop” because of the snapping curve ball he possessed, but he was actually dubbed with that moniker because of fashionable beebop eyeglasses of the time. He was also well known for his control, which he honed growing up by throwing rocks at bottles and cans.
Gordon played minor league ball from 1951-1953 with the Paris Lakers of the Mississippi-Ohio Valley League, a class D circuit. During his three seasons with Paris, the team was a combined 104 games over .500, though no players on any of the teams ever made the Major Leagues. Gordon was a significant contributor for the team during those years, compiling a 45-25 record along with a 3.75 ERA, appearing in an even 100 game.
“Beebop” last played organized baseball in 1954 for the Detroit Stars. He went on to work for over 35 years for Ford, retiring in 1991. He has traveled extensively and has no regrets about his career, even though he never got a chance to pitch in the Major Leagues. I wrote to “Beebop” in 2010 and he responded with a great hand-written letter, answering some of my questions that you can see below.
Herold “Beebop” Gordon:
“To answer your questions, I didn’t need anyone to tell me that I could play professional baseball; I had self confidence in myself that given the chance I could play professional baseball! However, when Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier I thought I had a chance to play in the Major Leagues, but the opportunity did not occur!
Double Duty Radcliffe, who lived to be one hundred and three years old was given the nickname “Double Duty” because he would pitch one and catch the next game. He was my manager and my catcher in 1950 with the Chicago American Giants. Double duty also took me under his wing! Double Duty was my coach and my manager!
Playing pool is my favorite hobby.
Satchel Paige was my favorite pitcher growing up and the highlight of my baseball career was pitching against him and winning the game by the score 2-1. The game was played here in Detroit at Briggs Stadium, later named Tiger Stadium. The day was August 15, 1954 and the reason I remember the date so well is because my oldest daughter was born the very next day, August 16th. I hope I have answered your questions.
Herald “Bee Bop” Gordon”