The Obit For James McCurine

Negro Leagues slugger McCurine dies
CHICAGO (AP) -- James "Big Stick" McCurine, a Negro Leagues slugger who turned down an offer to play on a Boston Braves farm team, died of heart and kidney failure. He was 81.

McCurine, who died Friday, began traveling at age 15 with semiprofessional teams such as the Hartford Giants, Brown Bombers and the Lincoln Giants.

McCurine broke into the Negro Leagues in 1945, following an exhibition game between Lincoln and the Chicago American Giants, during which he sent pitch after pitch into the stands. American Giants manager Candy Jim Taylor quickly acquired him.

With fellow American Giants star John "Mule" Miles, McCurine formed one of the Negro Leagues' top batting duos. He hit 20-25 home runs each year for the team.

He tried out for the Boston Braves in 1949 despite a shoulder injury. He was unable to throw the ball from the outfield and was only offered a position on their Class C team. He rejected the offer, noting his popularity in the Negro Leagues.

McCurine played one more year for the American Giants before retiring from baseball.

McCurine is survived by his wife and two children.