Five of the Best Black Baseball Players for Winston-Salem
In celebration of Black History Month, throughout February, teams across Minor League Baseball have been taking a look back at five of the best Black players to suit up for their club. While some of these standout performers went on to long and illustrious Major League careers, others simply had
In celebration of Black History Month, throughout February, teams across Minor League Baseball have been taking a look back at five of the best Black players to suit up for their club.
While some of these standout performers went on to long and illustrious Major League careers, others simply had great Minor League careers or, in some cases, just one incredible season that went down as “a year for the ages.”
Here is a look at five of the best Black baseball players ever to suit up for Winston-Salem.
CECIL COOPER (1971) – Cecil Cooper almost never played in Winston-Salem. Left unprotected by the Boston Red Sox in the 1970 Rule 5 Draft, the St. Louis Cardinals picked him up and tried to mold him for the outfield. At the end of spring training, the Sox bought Cooper back and assigned him to the Class-A Winston-Salem Red Sox. Cooper, frustrated that he was assigned to a level at which he already proved he could play, went on to embarrass Carolina League pitchers in 1971. The 21-year-old slashed .379/.449/.575 in 42 games for Winston-Salem and found himself in Double-A Pawtucket for 98 games that same season. An impressive performance in Rhode Island warranted a late-season big league debut for Cooper, who went on to lead a long career in Major League Baseball. In 16 seasons spent between the Boston Red Sox and Milwaukee Brewers, Cooper posted a career average of .298, mashed 241 home runs and amassed five All-Star selections, two Rawlings Gold Glove Awards, and three Silver Slugger Awards. Cooper spent the prime years of his career in Milwaukee, where he is enshrined on both the American Family Field Walk of Fame and the Milwaukee Brewers Wall of Honor.
TIM ANDERSON (2014) – Tim Anderson was the White Sox’ first round pick in 2013 and put on a show in Kannapolis that same year. He began 2014 with the Dash and put up an impressive .297 batting average, 18 doubles, seven triples and six homers. With 68 games under his belt, a wrist injury stopped Anderson in his tracks, but he healed quickly. The Sox then designated him to Double-A Birmingham, where he remained for the last ten games of the 2014 season. After another year and some change spent between Double-A and Triple-A, Anderson was called up to the big leagues on June 10, 2016. Anderson has hit a stride in recent seasons, earning an American League batting title in 2019, a Silver Slugger award in 2020, and an All-Star selection in 2021. He continues to project as one of the top contributors to the White Sox for the foreseeable future as the team continues the push for the first World Series victory since 2005. Anderson additionally made his mark on baseball history in 2021 by hitting a walk-off home run to give the White Sox a 9-8 victory against the New York Yankees in Major League Baseball’s inaugural Field of Dreams game.
DOUG GLANVILLE (1992) – In 1991, the Chicago Cubs had the 12th pick in the MLB Draft and selected 20-year-old Doug Glanville out of the University of Pennsylvania. The following year, the Cubs sent the young outfielder to their High-A affiliate, Winston-Salem Spirits. Glanville spent all of 1992 in Winston-Salem. Glanville cut his teeth with the Spirits, slashing .258/.318/.336 with four homers and 36 RBI. He began 1993 in High-A ball when the Cubs switched their affiliate to Daytona and was promoted to Double-A Orlando that same year. Glanville made Triple-A in 1994 and shined through the rest of a successful minor league campaign. The Chicago Cubs called him up to the big leagues in 1996. Over the course of a nine-year career, he batted .277 while totaling 333 RBI, 166 2B and 32 3B. Since retiring from baseball in 2004, Glanville has worked as a broadcaster for ESPN and NBC Sports Chicago as well as a sportswriter for several national outlets. He is also an adjunct professor at the University of Connecticut’s Neag School of Education.
LEO DAIGLE (2005) – While Leo Daigle never made the Major Leagues, his 2005 season with the Winston-Salem Warthogs was unforgettable. The San Diego-native first baseman who had never cracked Double-A went on a tear to help the Hogs reach first place in the Carolina League South Division. He slashed .341/.414/.637 while knocking 112 RBI and 29 homers. Daigle’s performance merited a promotion to Triple-A for 32 games near the end of the season. His efforts also landed a Triple Crown, marking the second ever won by a Carolina League player (The first was won by Ray Jablonski, slugger for the Winston-Salem Cardinals in 1951). Daigle was also named Carolina League MVP in 2005. He retired from baseball in 2006, but his time in Winston-Salem is remembered fondly by coaches, teammates, executives, and fans.
JOEL BOOKER (2017-18) – Joel Booker was drafted by the Chicago White Sox in the 22nd round of the 2016 MLB Draft. The young outfielder found himself in Winston-Salem a couple months into the 2017 season. In 52 games with the Dash, Booker hit a modest .233 with only two homers and 21 RBI. He was sent back down to Kannapolis for the remainder of the season to work on his bat. Booker began the 2018 season in Winston-Salem and looked like a completely different player. He slashed .297/.389/.469 with the Dash and was selected as a Carolina League All-Star. Since his promotion to Birmingham that same season, Booker has never played below Double-A and still holds Major League potential.