Wendell P. Dabney      

Guide to African American Resources
at the Cincinnati History Library and Archives




Subject Categories



Cincinnati History
Library and Archives

Cincinnati Museum Center at Union Terminal










Chuck Harmon
  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 resources:

Chuck 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 record   Request slip
In the Shadows: Cincinnati's Black Baseball Players
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.


Cincinnati History Library and Archives
1301 Western Ave., Suite 2133, Cincinnati, Ohio 45203
Phone: (513) 287-7030
Email: library@cincymuseum.org
Copyright © 2004-2020 Cincinnati Museum Center.
All Rights Reserved.
Images not to be reproduced without written authorization.
This online guide opened on February 10, 2004.