Feb 15, 2021
Established as an amateur boys
team in 1910 by a moonlighting civil servant named Ed Bolden, the
club incorporated in November 1916, as the Hilldale Baseball &
Exhibition Company - and developing into a professional Negro
League powerhouse in the 1920s.
Along with Atlantic City's
Bacharach Giants, Hilldale played as eastern "associates" of the
predominantly midwestern Negro National League in 1920-21 - before
becoming charter members of a full-fledged Bolden-founded rival
Eastern Colored League in 1923.
Immediately, Hilldale's "Darby
Daisies" became the team to beat - winning the ECL's first three
league pennants, and earning two trips to the first-ever Colored
World Series against the NNL's powerhouse Kansas City Monarchs -
barely losing a best-of-nine series in 1924, but dominating in a
five games-to-one title in 1925.
Darby lineups were frequently
stocked with some of the top players of the era - including six
eventual baseball National Baseball Hall of Famers: Oscar
Charleston, "The Immortal" Martin Dihigo, "Pop" Lloyd, "Judy"
Johnson, "Biz" Mackey, and Louis Santop.
Hilldale also made waning
appearances in 1929's one-year American Negro League and 1932's
East-West League as the economic strains of the Great Depression
ultimately pushed the club into extinction.