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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


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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.
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Golf Navajo NDN All-Star Profile

NDN All-Star #11 Rickie Fowler (Navajo) – A Golfer With A Flair For The Dramatic

NDN All-Star #11 Rickie Fowler (Navajo)

Let’s dive into the world of golf and talk about NDN All-Star #11 Rickie Fowler (Navajo)!

Rickie’s golf journey began when he was just a kid. Born on December 13, 1988, in Murrieta, California, he started playing golf at the age of three! His passion for the sport grew stronger as he practiced and played in junior tournaments. Rickie’s dedication and hard work paid off when he received a golf scholarship to Oklahoma State University – a big step toward his dream of becoming a professional golfer.

After turning pro in 2009, Rickie Fowler quickly made a name for himself on the professional golf circuit. He’s known for his stylish outfits and his vibrant orange outfits on Sundays, which has become his signature look (a tribute to his OSU days). But it’s not just about the style – Rickie’s game speaks for itself. He has several victories on the PGA Tour, including the 2012 Wells Fargo Championship,  the prestigious Players Championship in 2015, and most recently the 2023 Rocket Mortgage Classic.

Did you know that Rickie Fowler is Navajo? His maternal grandmother is of Navajo descent, which connects him to a rich and unique culture. The Navajo Nation is the largest Native American tribe in the United States, known for their history, art, and traditions. Rickie takes pride in his Navajo roots and sometimes incorporates elements of Navajo culture into his golfing gear, like the Thunderbird symbol.

Rickie has an uncanny talent for making great golf shots at big moments!  Here is one example.  And here is another.  And another…  get the idea?

Fowler’s success isn’t just about winning tournaments. He’s also passionate about giving back to the community. Through his charity work, he supports various causes, including children’s hospitals and disaster relief efforts. Rickie’s commitment to making a positive impact shows that being a role model goes beyond the golf course.

A great example of this is – in 2023, Rickie BOUGHT the small golf course where he first began playing golf – a course where his dad worked in exchange for Fowler to be able to hit balls there.  He bought it so that other kids in the future would have that same opportunity to learn the game he loves.  Here is what he had to say about the purchase: “I always wanted the range to be around and it to be open for the next generation. I wanted kids to have the same opportunity as me if they were interested.”

As Rickie Fowler continues to play golf and make a difference, his journey serves as an inspiration to young aspiring golfers. His determination, unique style, and connection to his Navajo heritage make him stand out in the world of sports. Whether you’re a golf enthusiast or just starting to learn about the game, NDN All-Star #11 Rickie Fowler’s story is a reminder that with hard work and a strong sense of identity, anyone can achieve their dreams.

#ndnallstars #rickiefowler #navajo #PGA #heavyweight #golf


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Basketball Chickasaw Choctaw NDN All-Star Profile Tribal Affiliation

NDN All-Star #12 Jesse “Cab” Renick (Chickasaw/Choctaw) – A Player Just A Little Ahead Of His Time

NDN All-Star #12 Jesse "cab" Renick (Chickasaw/Choctaw)

Let me introduce you to a true legend of the game, NDN All-Star #12 Jesse “Cab” Renick (Chickasaw/Choctaw). He was a basketball sensation in the days before the NBA. At the time, AAU Basketball was the pinnacle of the sport, and that is where Cab really shined – so much so that in the 1947-48 season, he was selected for the AAU All-American team!

Back in 1948, Renick earned a spot on the United States Olympic basketball team and even had the honor of being its captain. His leadership skills and athletic prowess played a pivotal role in the team’s success at the Olympics where the US team took the Gold Medla! Picture this: Cab – representing the United States on the world stage! He showcased his exceptional talents and leadership qualities in front of a global audience.

Cab’s Olympic triumph became a wellspring of inspiration for generations to come, earning him a well-deserved place in the American Indian Athletic Hall of Fame. PLUS – Renick became just the second Native American in Oklahoma’s history to clinch an Olympic gold medal.

Cab’s achievements on the hardwood have left an indelible mark, motivating future generations of Native American athletes to chase their own dreams and shatter barriers. His story is a real example that with hard work and determination, Native Americans can rise to greatness in sports and every other facet of life. NDN All-Star #12 Jesse “Cab” Renick’s enduring legacy is a compelling reminder of the vital role representation and diversity play in the worlds of sports and society.

#NDNAllstars #JesseCabRenick #Chickasaw #Choctaw #basketball #Olympics


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
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.
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NDN All-Star Profile Onondga Track & Field

NDN All-Star #8 Tom Longboat (Onondaga)

NDN All-Star #8 Tom Longboat (Onondaga)

NDN All-Star #8 Tom Longboat (Onondaga) was a long-distance runner from Canada. I selected him for the NDN All-Stars line up because of his unbelievable accomplishments, including winning the Boston Marathon in 1907 – shattering the record by a staggering 5 MINUTES (a whole mile’s worth of running time). He also won two Canadian championships, two US championships, and represented Canada in the 1908 Summer Olympics in London.

I will be honest… I didn’t know about Tom Longboat before I started doing research for this whole NDN All-Stars thing.  I could barely believe what I was reading when I came across information about Tom Longboat. I am glad that I found out about him – and can now share his story and accomplishments with all of you!

At the beginning of the 20th Century, long distance running was an international phenomenon – with races being held all over North America and Europe.  And these were not just ANY races… they were true feats of endurance.  Longboat beat an Italian runner named Dorando Pietri of Italy for the “World Professional Running Championship”. The race was held in Madison Square Garden on December 15, 190. Longboat won when Dorando collapsed with half a mile to go. When Longboat crossed the finish line, he had been running for 2 hours, 45 minutes, and 5.2 seconds, and he won a prize of $3,750.

His success as a long-distance runner made him one of Canada’s first sports celebrities and earned him the nickname “The Iron Man”. He was inducted into the Canadian Sports Hall of Fame in 1955 as part of their inaugural class of inductees.

Tom Longboat remains one of Canada’s most celebrated athletes to this day.  Here is a short animated story of NDN All-Star #8 Tom Longboat that is pretty entertaining…

During World War I, Tom Longboat was a messenger, running through heavy fire to deliver communications to Allied Forces.  There is a story that once, when he made a fast journey and delivered the message he was tasked with, the commanding officer said something to the effect of “Wow!  That was fast!  Who do you think you are? Tom Longboat?”  Tom replied simply, “Yes, as a matter of fact.”

A world famous long distance runner, Boston Marathon winner AND war hero!  NDN All-Star #8 Tom Longboat – an NDN All-Star everyone should know about!


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.
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NDN All-Star Profile Oglala Sioux Track & Field

NDN All-Star #7 Billy Mills (Oglala Sioux)

NDN All-Star #7 Billy Mills (Oglala Siouc)

NDN All-Star #7 Billy Mills, a member of the Oglala Sioux, was the winner of the Gold Medal in the 10,000 meter race at the 1964 Olympics in Tokyo. It was an extraordinary achievement, given his humble beginnings on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota. His amazing come-from-behind victory has since become a source of inspiration for Native Americans everywhere. Click the link to see him pour on the speed to win the Gold Medal!  It gives me goose bumps every time I see it!

His story is one that shows that anything is possible if you put your mind to it and never give up – regardless of where you come from.  It has been told numerous times, and was even made into a movie in 1983 called “Running Brave“.

Billy has used his celebrity to good effect.  He is the national spokesperson for the “Running Strong for American Indian Youth” foundation, doing great work to provide better lives and opportunities for the next generations of Native youth.  Click the link and see how you can help their efforts.

As the only American to win the Gold Medal in the 10,000 meter race, NDN All-Star #7 Billy Mills is a true NDN All-Star!


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 Profile

NDN All-Star #5 Albert “Chief” Bender (Ojibwe)

NDN All-Star #5 Albert "Chief" Bender (Ojibwe)

I selected “Chief” Bender as NDN All-Star #5 for one simple reason.  He was a brilliant baseball pitcher.  If you need verification of that – here is a link to his lifetime stats: https://www.baseball-reference.com/players/b/bendech01.shtml

Albert, as he preferred to be called, was another athletic star that came from the Carlisle Indian School.  (Imagine walking down those hallways and seeing athletes like Jim Thorpe, Albert Bender, Lewis Tewanima, Joe Guyon, etc. as part of the student body…)

Bender made his Major League debut on April 20, 1903 when he was just 19 years old.  He would go on to pitch for 15 major league seasons and play in three World Series.

Bender was at his best in high pressure, big-game situations.  In the 1911 World Series he pitched three complete games!  His manager, Hall of Famer Connie Mack, once said “If I had all the men I’ve ever handled and they were in their prime and there was one big game I wanted to win above all others, Albert would be my man.”  Definitely high words of praise and confidence, I would say.

“Chief” Bender was elected to the MLB Hall of Fame in 1953

I just received a book about NDN All-star #5 Albert “Chief” Bender in the mail a few days ago.  It is called “Chief Bender’s Burden” written by Tom Swift and published in 2008.  I look forward to reading it soon and will post more about Bender in a later blog post.

If any of you have read “Chief Bender’s Burden” let me know what you thought of the book – and of NDN All-Star #5 Albert “Chief” Bender (Ojibwe) in the comments.

#ndnallstars #chiefbender #mlb #ojibwe #HOF #tomswift #chiefbendersburden


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!