Harvard Pioneer Chosen for Induction Into the National College Baseball Hall of Fame

HA_William_Clarence_Matthews_webWilliam Clarence Matthews, a member of the Class of 1905 at Harvard University, has been chosen for induction into the National College Baseball Hall of Fame.

Matthews attended Tuskegee Institute and Phillips Andover Academy, where he was the only African American in his class of 97 students. He walked on to the Harvard University baseball team in 1902 and led the team in batting for three straight seasons. In 1905, he batted .400 and stole 22 bases. During Matthews’ years at Harvard, the varsity baseball team had a record of 75 wins against only 18 losses.

After graduation in 1905, Matthews joined the a professional team in Burlington, Vermont. At the time, he was the only African American in the nation playing professional baseball in a predominantly White league.

Matthews went on to enroll in the Boston University School of Law. He was admitted to the bar in 1908. He died in 1928 at the age of 51 from a perforated ulcer while serving as an assistant attorney general in the administration of President Calvin Coolidge.

The Ivy League baseball championship trophy is named in his honor.

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  1. As a member of the Black College Pioneers and Legends Committee for the National College Baseball HOF and Foundation, I would like to remind the readers that William C. Matthews not only attended Tuskegee Institute prior to being recruited away to Harvard. It is widely confirmed that Matthews returned to TI to form the first Golden Tiger football team.

  2. He never “returned” to TI to form the first football team. While he was there as a student 1894-97, the first football team was formed. Once he went North, he didn’t return, except to marry his schoolmate, Penelope Belle Lloyd of Hayneville, AL in July 1907. He played football with distinction at Harvard.

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