Louis Sockalexis, a Penobscot Indian from Maine, was one of the greatest college baseball stars of the 1890s. Following his days playing for Holy Cross and Notre Dame, he went directly into the major leagues with Cleveland's National League team in 1897, becoming the first of his race to play in the majors and the first minority athlete to play in the National League.
This is a complete biography of Sockalexis, known during his playing days as "Chief of Sockem" and "Deerfoot of the Diamond." For three months, Sockalexis batted well over .300, hit home runs, and made incredible throws from the outfield, but he found it difficult to adjust to playing in the major leagues. He often found himself the object of ridicule and hatred from sportswriters and fans in other cities. Sockalexis began drinking heavily and was suspended by the Cleveland team for playing while intoxicated. His alcoholism brought his career to an unfortunate and premature end in 1899, and he died in 1913 at the age of 42. Shortly after his death, Cleveland's American League team was named the Indians and Chief Wahoo was adopted as its mascot, something that has sparked controversy in recent years and brought attention to Sockalexis once again.