Born in Washington, Indiana in 1924, Chuck Harmon began his baseball
career in 1947, while still in college. He became tired of waiting
for a job from the Toledo recreation department and accepted an offer
to play in the Negro Leagues on the Indianapolis Clowns. After five
days, however, he quit due to the punishing travel schedule and returned
to Toledo. A month later, though, he was approached by the St. Louis
Browns to play on one of their minor league teams. Except for a two
year hiatus in 1948-1949 to remain eligible for his college basketball
team, he stayed with the Browns until 1953 when he was traded to the
Cincinnati Reds. A year later he worked his way out of the Minors
to make his début in the Major League.
When he joined the Cincinnati Reds in April 1954, Chuck Harmon was
the first African American to join the team. Harmon played third base
and the outfield for two seasons with the Reds until he was traded
to the St. Louis Cardinals in 1957. He later played for the Philadelphia
Phillies. During his major league career, Harmon played 289 games,
hit 7 home runs and had a .238 batting average. Following his retirement
from baseball, Chuck worked as an administrative assistant for the
Ohio 1st District Court of Appeals in Cincinnati. He remains active
in SWAP (Seniors With A Purpose) and other youth related services.
To learn more about Chuck Harmon, consult the following
Harmon: The Black Red
By Brent Kelley in Voices from the Negro Leagues : Conversations
with 52 Baseball Standouts of the Period 1924-1960
General f796.357 K29 View catalog recordRequest slip
In the Shadows: Cincinnati's Black
By Lonnie Wheeler and John Baskin in Queen City Heritage,
Vol. 46, No. 2, Summer 1988, pages 13‑19.
General f906 H673B
This article by Lonnie Wheeler and John Baskin covers the history
of African American baseball clubs and players in Cincinnati. In particular,
it discusses the Cincinnati Tigers, the Excelsiors, Chuck Harmon,
Jim Wynn, and Dave Parker. View article (PDF)
Chuck Harmon Collection
History Objects 1998.21
The collection includes Harmon's Cincinnati Red's commemorative jersey,
black leather baseball cleats, a signed baseball bat, a baseball glove,
and two Harmon baseball cards. Request slip
Sources Used for Biographical Sketch:
Kelley, Brent. "Chuck Harmon: The Black Red"
in Voices from the Negro Leagues: Conversations with 52 Baseball
Standouts of the Period 1924-1960, General f796.357 K29,
Cincinnati History Library and Archives, Cincinnati Museum Center.
Conversations between Chuck Harmon and History
Objects Curator, David Conzett.