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Baseball NDN All-Star Info NDN All-Star Profile NDN All-Stars Firsts Penobscot

NDN All-Stars “FIRSTS” – Baseball’s First Indian

NDN All-Stars "FIRSTS"

Leading off our NDN All-Stars “FIRSTS” mini-series, I want to talk a little about NDN All-Star #4 Louis Sockalexis (Penobscot).  “Sock” broke the color barrier in Major League Baseball a full 50 years before the more celebrated Jackie Robinson, when he played his first Major League game on April 22, 1897.

Sockalexis was a true baseball phenom – hitting, running, fielding – he could do it all better than anyone at that time! After a stellar career in college at Holy Cross and Notre Dame, Sockalexis signed with the Cleveland Spiders.

Sockalexis played brilliantly during his first season and was quickly became a media darling as he traveled around the country, attracting sportswriters and fans wherever he went. However, he also had to endure racist barbs from the opposing teams and the fans in the stands. Despite non-stop heckling and taunts and harassment, “Sock” seemed to take it all with grace and good humor; so much so that after a while, even many of the opposing team’s fans were won over. Through it all, Sockalexis continued to astound baseball fans with his on field accomplishments.

The story of Louis Sockalexis’ baseball career doesn’t end in glory, however. Unfortunately, Sockalexis fell prey to alcoholism, and ended up only playing parts of three major league seasons.  After he was released from his major league contract, he played a few more seasons in minor and independent leagues. His last game in organized baseball was for the Lowell Tigers in 1907.

Our first “FIRST” – NDN All-Star #4 Louis Sockalexis was a baseball player like no other, and a true baseball pioneer!

Thanks, “Sock” for making it possible for the rest of the Native Baseball Players to play the game they love at the highest level! Here are some of the NDN All-Stars who have followed NDN All-Star #4 Louis Sockalexis and played baseball in the Majors:

Charles Bender, Ojjibwe

Johnny Bench, Choctaw

Jim Thorpe, Sac & Fox

John Tortes Meyers, Cahuilla

Early Wynn, Cherokee

Zach Wheat, Cherokee

Pepper Martin, Osage

Allie Reynolds, Creek

Jacoby Ellsbury, Navajo

Joba Chamberlin, Winnebago

Kyle Lohse, Nomlaki

“””Indian”” Bob Johnson”, Cherokee

Bobby Madritsch, Lakota

Roy Johnson, Cherokee

Lane Adams, Choctaw

Koda Glover, Cherokee

Moses Yellow Horse, Pawnee

Rudy York, Cherokee

Ed Summers, Kickapoo

“Elon “”Chief”” Hogsett”, Cherokee

Dwight Lowry, Lumbee

Adrian Houser, Cherokee

Ryan Helsley, Cherokee

Dylan Bundy, Cherokee

Jon Gray, Cherokee

Vallie Eaves, Cherokee

Brandon Bailey, Chickasaw

Robbie Ray, Cherokee

Bucky Dent, Cherokee

Gene Locklear, Lumbee

Jayhawk Owens, Cherokee

Euel Moore, Chickasaw

Louis Bruce, Mohawk

Louis Leroy, Mohican

Anthony Seigler, Navajo

Darrell Evans, Yavapai

Jim Bluejacket, Cherokee

 


#ndnallstars #louissockalexis #baseball #MLB #cleveland #Penobscot #FIRSTS


If you enjoy the content here and would like to help support our mission of celebrating great Native athletes of the past and present, please take a look at our NDN All-Stars Shop. Proceeds from every purchase help us continue to retell these stories. Also, if you would like to donate to this effort, please visit our Patreon page.
Thank you for your support!

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Basketball Cherokee NDN All-Star Info NDN All-Star Profile

NDN All-Star #15 Angel Goodrich (Cherokee) –  A Trailblazer on the Basketball Court

 

Hey there, sports fans! Today, let’s talk about the incredible NDN All-Star #15 Angel Goodrich (Cherokee) – a powerhouse in the world of women’s basketball. Angel has not only left her mark on the court with her amazing skills but has also made history as a proud representative of her Cherokee heritage.

Angel’s journey in basketball began at a young age, fueled by her passion for the game. Growing up, she honed her skills at Sequoyah High School in Tahlequah, Oklahoma, where she was the first Division I athletic scholarship recipient in the school’s history. During her 4 years at the Cherokee-operated school, she lettered in basketball, softball and track and field, and earned All-State honors as a sprinter. She also led the school’s basketball team, the Sequoyah Lady Indians, to three consecutive Class AAA state titles.

Her dedication paid off when she played college basketball at the University of Kansas. There, she showcased her exceptional talent as a point guard, leading her team to numerous victories and earning accolades for her outstanding performance. She was recognized nationally for her abilities and accomplishments by being voted as a finalist for the Naismith Award, Wade Trophy, Wooden Award, Nancy Lieberman Award, and the USBWA Ann Meyers Drysdale Award.

After making a name for herself in college, Angel took her skills to the professional level in the Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA). Her time in the league was nothing short of remarkable. As a point guard for the Tulsa Shock (now Dallas Wings) and the Seattle Storm, Angel dazzled fans with her lightning-fast moves, precise passes, and clutch plays. Her tenacity on the court made her a fan favorite and solidified her place as one of the standout players in the WNBA.

What makes Angel Goodrich even more special is her strong connection to her Cherokee heritage. As a proud member of the Cherokee Nation, Angel has embraced and celebrated her roots, becoming a role model for young athletes with indigenous backgrounds. She has not only excelled in her sport but has also used her platform to promote awareness and appreciation for Native American cultures.

In a world where diversity is celebrated, NDN All-Star #15 Angel Goodrich stands out as a trailblazer, breaking barriers and inspiring others with her remarkable journey. From her early days shooting hoops in her hometown to making waves in the WNBA, Angel’s story is one of resilience, passion, and cultural pride. As we cheer for athletes on the court, let’s also celebrate the unique stories and backgrounds that make them the extraordinary individuals they are. Angel – thank you for being a true inspiration both on and off the basketball court!

 

#NDNAllstars #AngelGoodrich #Cherokee #basketball #WNBA #TulsaShock #SeattleStorm

 


If you enjoy the content here and would like to help support our mission of celebrating great Native athletes of the past and present, please take a look at our NDN All-Stars Shop. Proceeds from every purchase help us continue to retell these stories. Also, if you would like to donate to this effort, please visit our Patreon page.
Thank you for your support!

Categories
Football NDN All-Star Info NDN All-Star Profile

The Oorang Indians: Breaking Barriers and Changing the Game

Oorang Indians 1922 football team

Hey there, NDN All-Stars fans! Today, let’s take a trip back in time to the fascinating world of football in the 1920s. You might have heard of legendary teams like the Packers and the Bears, but have you ever heard about the Oorang Indians? These guys weren’t just a football team; they were trailblazers who changed the game and broke down cultural barriers along the way.

Imagine a time when football was still finding its footing on the professional stage. The year was 1922, and the Oorang Indians burst onto the scene like a whirlwind. Hailing from LaRue, Ohio, this team was special – made up entirely of Native American players – Cherokee, Mohawk, Chippewa, Blackfeet, Winnebago, Mission, Caddo, Flathead, Sac and Fox, Seneca, and Penobscot to list a few represented tribes. Led by the charismatic NDN All-Star #1 Jim Thorpe (Sac & Fox) – a true sports legend – the Oorang Indians brought their unique skills and culture to the field, catching the attention of football fans across the nation.

Now, let’s talk about impact. The Oorang Indians weren’t just about playing football; they were about making a statement. In an era where racial prejudice was sadly prevalent, these athletes showed the world that talent and determination knew no boundaries. By showcasing their skills on the football field, they shattered stereotypes and challenged the status quo, paving the way for a more diverse future in professional sports.

But it wasn’t just about playing the game. The Oorang Indians did something nobody had seen before. They brought their culture center stage, performing halftime shows that celebrated Native American traditions. From dances to showcasing their impressive hunting skills, these shows captivated audiences and gave people a chance to learn and appreciate a culture they might not have been familiar with.

The legacy of the Oorang Indians lives on in the history of football. They might not have won championships, but they won hearts and minds. Their courage to stand up against discrimination and showcase their heritage left an indelible mark. As the years went by, their influence helped pave the way for more diversity in professional sports, making it clear that the field is a place for everyone, regardless of where they come from.

So, the next time you’re watching a football game, take a moment to appreciate the Oorang Indians’ trailblazing spirit. They didn’t just play football; they tackled prejudice, they intercepted stereotypes, and they scored big for diversity. Their story reminds us that sports are about more than just winning – they’re about breaking down barriers and inspiring change.

Find out more about the Oorang Indians in this great book:

Walter Lingo, Jim Thorpe, and the Oorang Indians: How a Dog Kennel Owner Created the NFL’s Most Famous Traveling Team


If you enjoy the content here and would like to help support our mission of celebrating great Native athletes of the past and present, please take a look at our NDN All-Stars Shop. Proceeds from every purchase help us continue to retell these stories. Also, check out the NDN All-Stars Podcast for interviews with some of our NDN All-Star team members!  If you would like to donate to this effort, please visit our Patreon page.
Thank you for your support!

 

Categories
Baseball NDN All-Star Info Ojibwe

Cool new Children’s Book!!!

"Contenders: Two Native Baseball Players, One World Series" book cover

Just came across some information about a cool new children’s book featuring the first World Series NDN All-Star face-off ever!

The book “Contenders: Two Native Baseball Players, One World Series” – written by Traci Sowell and illustrated by Arigon Starr, tells the true story of NDN All-Star #5 Charles Albert “Chief” Bender (Ojibwe) and NDN All-Star #18 John Tortes Meyers (Cahuilla) and their meeting in the 1911 World Series between Bender’s Philadelphia A’s and Meyers’ New York Giants.

I haven’t read it yet, but as soon as my copy gets here, I will update this blog post with my thoughts.

Have you read this book?  Leave a comment and tell me what you thought!  I know – it’s a KIDS book!  But it’s a KIDS book about NDN ALL-STARS!!!

#NDNAllstars #ChiefBender #WorldSeries #JohnTortesMeyers #ChildrensBook #TraciSowell #ArigonStarr #MLB #Ojibwe #Cahuilla


If you enjoy the content here and would like to help support our mission of celebrating great Native athletes of the past and present, please take a look at our NDN All-Stars Shop. Proceeds from every purchase help us continue to retell these stories. Also, if you would like to donate to this effort, please visit our Patreon page.
Thank you for your support!

Categories
Football NDN All-Star Info NDN All-Star Profile

The Carlisle Indians – A Football Dynasty

Carlisle Indians Football Team

In this blog post, I want to change up a little bit and – instead of focusing on one individual athlete, I would like to talk about one the most influential football programs in the storied history of the gridiron.

And, while the tragedies that came along with the whole Indian Boarding School concept (and there were countless horrible things that occurred at those institutions) are still being uncovered, this post is about one of the more positive outcomes from that failed social experiment.

A lot has been written about the Carlisle Indians, Jim Thorpe, Pop Warner and more, and deservedly so.  What was created at Carlisle when you view things through a sports program lens, the accomplishments of the teams from Carlisle are astounding!

Instead of me rehashing a lot of facts and statistics, I would like to point you to some books written by a lot smarter people than me who have researched and dug and discovered all the great information we want to know about Carlisle football.

Check these out:

“Gridiron Gypsies” by Dr. Tom Benjey

“The Real All-Americans” by Sally Jenkins

“Carlisle vs Army” by Lars Anderson

There are many more books about some of the athletes who attended and played at Carlisle – Jim Thorpe, Chief Bender, Joe Guyon, Albert Exendine – the list goes on.  I will talk about some of those when I post about the individuals.

If you have a favorite book about the football program at Carlisle Industrial School, leave a comment and tell me which one and why.  I would love to hear about it.

And – in celebration of the Carlisle Industrial School and their dominant football team, here is the Carlisle School March.  (Imagine if the band played this after every touchdown like colleges do with their Fight Songs today… the band would be exhausted!)

#NDNAllstars #CarlisleFootball #JimThorpe #PopWarner


If you enjoy the content here and would like to help support our mission of celebrating great Native athletes of the past and present, please take a look at our NDN All-Stars Shop. Proceeds from every purchase help us continue to retell these stories. Also, if you would like to donate to this effort, please visit our Patreon page.
Thank you for your support!

Categories
Boxing Cherokee NDN All-Star Info NDN All-Star Profile

NDN All-Star #6 – Jack Dempsey (Cherokee)

I selected Jack Dempsey (Cherokee) for the NDN All-Stars team because – he was the best and toughest boxer of the first half of the 20th Century, and the Undisputed Heavyweight Champion of the World for SEVEN YEARS!

There have been a lot of books written about NDN All-Star #6 Jack Dempsey (Cherokee) so there are tons of resources where you can find out more about his life and his boxing career.  I will provide a short list of some of the books that I have read below.  His story of growing up in poverty and having to fight in bars and back alleys to earn food money gives you an idea of the determination he had to make it to the top.

And on July 4, 1919 – in Toledo, OH, he did just that.  Dempsey shocked the world when he savagely beat the reigning Heavyweight Champion Jess Willard into submission.  The extent of the beating cannot be exaggerated.  Willard’s face was a bloody pulp, he lost teeth, and had his jaw and facial bones broken.  You can see the actual fight here.

After boxing, Jack Dempsey became a successful business man and restaurant owner.  He also dabbled in acting, making a few movies in Hollywood.

NDN All-Star #6 Jack Dempsey’s legacy and impact on the sport of boxing lives on today.  His fighting style is studied and emulated by current fighters of all weight classes.  Former Heavyweight Champion “Iron” Mike Tyson has said many times that his ultimate boxing hero – and the fighter that he tried most to emulate – is Jack Dempsey.

What greater compliment can you get?

NDN All-Star #6 Jack Dempsey (Cherokee) is certainly deserving of a spot on the NDN All-Stars roster.

Suggested reading:

#ndnallstars #jackdempsey #cherokee #boxing #heavyweight #champion


If you enjoy the content here and would like to help support our mission of celebrating great Native athletes of the past and present, please take a look at our NDN All-Stars Shop. Proceeds from every purchase help us continue to retell these stories. Also, if you would like to donate to this effort, please visit our Patreon page.
Thank you for your support!

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NDN All-Star Info

Why NDN All-Stars?

NDN All-Stars Logo
NDN All-Stars – promoting great Native athletes from the past and the present!

Well, here is the story.  When I was 11 or 12 years old, I had some surgery and was laid up for a bit.  To help pass the time, my dad bought me a book – “The Jim Plunkett Story – The Saga of the Man Who Came Back”.  While I was not a big Raiders fan, my dad said “Read it.  You’ll like it.”  So – I read it.

It is truly an inspirational story, and I recommend it to anyone who is a football fan – or anyone who wants to read a story about overcoming seemingly insurmountable odds… that sort of thing.

Here is the thing that REALLY stood out to me.  Jim Plunkett is of Cherokee descent.  He is an INDIAN dude!  (Although he is also Hispanic – and that was the main “label” that was attached to him…)

I thought that was pretty cool!  And it got my 11-12 year old brain wondering… are there other Indian athletes out there? I knew of Jim Thorpe, of course. Doesn’t everyone? Particularly football fans? But – what about other athletes? Oh!  Wait! I am a University of Washington Huskies fan – and they had this great quarterback named Sonny Sixkiller! Yeah! That’s another one… I wonder who else?

And so it went. Time went by. I would think about this from time to time, and then put it on the back burner again.

Fast forward to 2017. I had been a commercial artist and graphic designer for a number of years and got the opportunity to become a high school art teacher – something I never thought I would do. The student population at Omak High School, where I currently teach art, is about half Native American, being located adjacent to the reservation of the Colville Confederated Tribes in Eastern Washington State.

After some months of interacting with about 150 students a day, I noticed something interesting. A LOT of kids – boys and girls – wore shirts and hats featuring sports heroes and teams. Michael Jordan. Kobe Bryant. Russell Wilson. Ichiro. Derek Jeter. Etc, etc, etc. That’s all well and good. But it struck me – do these kids know of any actual Native American athletes? Past or current? So – I asked. “Does anyone know who Jim Thorpe was? I know this is Art Class, but I am curious…” A couple of kids half-way put their hands up…“Didn’t he play football or something?”

So I took a couple of minutes and talked about how – yes, he DID play football, but was also the first Native American to win Gold Medals in the Olympics – AND he played major league baseball – and had a barnstorming basketball team – AND was the first president of what became the National Football League… an Indian guy – who grew up on the Rez (and went to Indian Boarding School) and had to deal with racism and a lot of the stuff that many of the kids I was talking to deal with.

That was the moment that really prompted me to take that kernel of an idea I had when I was 11 or 12 and do something with it.

Which brings us to NDN All-Stars. This is intended to be a platform where Native athletes from the past and the present can be featured and promoted to today’s youth – Native, white, black, purple – whatever label people feel they need to put on.  There are tremendous inspirational stories of kids coming from such humble beginnings – just like Omak, or Nespelem, or pick any number of small towns on or near Indian Reservations, and going on to reach the top of their game. I already mentioned gold medals, so there are  NDN All-Stars who have won world championships, thrown no-hitters, been elected to the Hall of Fame in their sport… and their stories need to be told and re-told – and reintroduced to today’s youth.

That is the humble beginning and basic foundation of  NDN All-Stars.


If you enjoy the content here and would like to help support our mission of celebrating great Native athletes of the past and present, please take a look at our NDN All-Stars Shop. Proceeds from every purchase help us continue to retell these stories. Also, if you would like to donate to this effort, please visit our Patreon page.
Thank you for your support!