Verdell Mathis ("Lefty"), born November 18th, 19141 in Crawfordsville, AR,2 was a Negro League baseball player from 1940-1950.
Mathis was the son of Jackson Mathis and Sarah Mathis.3 He was born in Crawforsville, AR in rural Crittenden County, but moved to Memphis, TN at age six.4 He attended Booker T. Washington High School in Memphis.5
Mathis began his Negro baseball career in 1937 with the Brooklyn Giants, a Memphis-based independent semi-pro traveling team.6 Later that year, the Giants made their headquarters in Algona, IA and became the Algona Brownies.7 Mathis continued to play with the Brownies in 1938 and 1939.8 In 1940, he joined the Memphis Red Sox and continued to pitched with them for at least part of the next 11 seasons. He also appeared with Tampico of the Mexican League in 1941 and the Philadelphia Stars in 1943. He was known as one of the best left-handers in baseball and was selected to the East-West all-star game six times, in 1941, 1942, 1944, 1945, 1947 and 1948.
Mathis was married to Helen Dunn in Crittenden County, AR in 1936.9
Mathis died on October 30th, 1998 in Memphis, TN.10 He was buried Memphis Memory Gardens in Memphis.11 In 2006, he was nominated for the National Baseball Hall of Fame by the Special Negro Leagues committee.
Statistics in Baseball-Reference.com.
Statistics at the Seamheads.com Negro Leagues Database.
1 Social Security Death Index gives his birth year as 1913. His grave marker also gives 1913.
2 Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, 8/23/1994
4 Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, 8/21/1994