Saturday, January 14, 2017

Visiting Spottswood Poles Grave In Arlington National Cemetery

This past summer, my wife and I lived in Washington D.C. and during our couple of months there I spend the good part of two days walking around in the midday sun in Arlington National Cemetery. If you ever make it to the nation's capital I highly recommend it as you can easily visit the big names (JFK, RFK, William Howard Taft) or expand your visit to visit the graves of a whole host of lesser known celebrities and historical figures. 


While planning out my walking route around the cemetery, a name jumped out at me that was familiar, Spottswood Poles. A great Negro League player, he also served in World War I, making him eligible to be buried at Arlington. With a little effort (there are about 400,000 graves in the cemetery), I was able to locate his grave.


Spottswood, shortened to simply Spot, was one of the best speed demons on the bases in the early days of the Negro Leagues. He debuted with the Philadelphia Giants in 1909 (pictured below) and bounced around with several teams through 1923. He is credited with having a .400+ batting average over his career and had great success in inter-league play against white teams. 


Poles' World War I service was in the 369th Infantry Regiment which earned the nickname of the "Harlem Hellfighters" as it was based out of New York. The regiment was the first African American regiment in the Army and was active all the way through the end of World War II. 

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