Major League Baseball Player. Louis Sockalexis was born on the Penobscot Indian reservation near Old Town, Maine. In his youth, his athletic talents were reputedly already very noticeable. After completing high school he began his college career in 1894 at the College of the Holy Cross. While there, he participated on the school's baseball, football, and track teams, and during summer played baseball in the Trolley League along the coast of Maine. In two seasons at Holy Cross he had a .444 batting average, then in 1896 he transferred to Notre Dame. While in those schools, he played both outfield and pitcher. Notre Dame expelled him not long after he arrived for problems with alcohol. In March 1897 he signed a major league contract with the Cleveland Spiders as an outfielder. His drinking problems continued, and he severely injured his ankle in a fall. In the first few games after the injury, he still batted .500, but his fielding ability suffered. After a mediocre 1898 campaign, the next year the Cleveland Spiders and the St. Louis Perfectos traded all of Cleveland's best players to St. Louis. He, however, no longer considered a star, was kept in Cleveland. After he played just seven games, the Spiders released him, and his major league career was over. He played a year in the minor leagues and returned to Indian Island to coach juvenile teams in 1901. He faced obstacles during his time in professional baseball, such as racial slurs and mimicry to taunt and insult him during games. Later, though, when the Cleveland Naps changed their name to the Indians in 1915, the franchise reportedly did so to honor him. The Indians' official media guide says that the name Indians was chosen by a young girl who specifically mentioned him and his heritage. In recognition of his accomplishments, he was elected to the American Indian Athletic Hall of Fame.
Bio by: Pete Mohney
Francis Peol Sockalexis