July 31, 1931|
Newport News, Virginia
April 28, 2016 (aged 84)|
Joseph Vann Durham (July 31, 1931 – April 28, 2016) was an American professional baseball player and coach. An outfielder, he appeared in Major League Baseball in 93 for the Baltimore Orioles (1954 and 1957) and St. Louis Cardinals (1959). Durham attended Shaw University. He threw and batted right-handed; he was listed as 6 feet 1 inch (1.85 m) tall and 186 pounds (84 kg).
Durham began his professional career in the Negro Leagues with the Chicago American Giants, then was signed by Bill Veeck, president of the St. Louis Browns, prior to the 1953 season. He was in the Browns' farm system when the franchise moved to Baltimore, Maryland, in 1954. After an outstanding season in the Double-A Texas League in 1954, he was recalled by the Orioles in September and in ten games collected nine hits in 44 plate appearances, including his first Major League home run off Al Sima of the Philadelphia Athletics on September 12. Durham then missed the 1955–1956 seasons performing military service.
He began the 1957 season in the Texas League — but was recalled by Baltimore in June after batting a torrid .391 over the first 50 games of the season. He then appeared in 77 games for the Orioles over the rest of the year, starting 40 games as an outfielder, but he batted only .186 and was sent to the Triple-A Vancouver Mounties for 1958. A solid season there (.285 and 85 runs batted in) resulted in Durham's selection by the Cardinals in the 1958 Rule 5 draft. He began 1959 on the Cardinals' roster, but appeared in only six games, starting one. He went hitless in five at bats and scored two . He was then returned to Vancouver and the Orioles' system. Apart from 1963, which he spent in the New York Yankees' system, Durham played at the top level of the Baltimore organization through 1964, then became the team's batting practice pitcher. He moved into the Orioles' front office in 1986, then became a coach for the Class A Frederick Keys of the Carolina League.
All told, he was a member of the Orioles' organization for over 40 years.
Durham died on April 28, 2016 at the Northwest Hospital Hospice Center in Randallstown, Maryland at the age of 84.
- ↑ Dubroff, Rich (April 28, 2016). "Joe Durham, first African American position player for Orioles, dies". CSN Mid-Atlantic. http://www.csnmidatlantic.com/baltimore-orioles/joe-durham-first-african-american-position-player-orioles-dies. Retrieved April 28, 2016.
- ↑ "Joe Durham Statistics and History". baseball-reference.com. Retrieved 2010-12-15.
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 The Baltimore Sun, 1995.09.21
- ↑ 1954-9-12 box score from Retrosheet
- Career statistics and player information from Baseball-Reference, or Baseball-Reference (Minors), or Retrosheet, or Pura Pelota (Venezuelan Winter League)
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