Marion "Sugar" Cain     

Marion Sugar Cain

Marion "Sugar" Cain

Born : February 14, 1914*, Macon, GA.
5'11, 196 lbs, R/R  Home : Philadelphia

       W  L   G GS GC IP  ERA  AB  AVE
1951   7  8  17 14 12 129      97 .268
1952   7  3  10  9  8          61 .279
1953  12  5  17 17 15 156     117 .316
1954  11  1           106      82 .451
1955   8  4           107 2.94 59 .254
1956  10  5  15 15 15 130 2.29 86 .325
1957   7  5               3.94 88 .318

*  Birth date from James Riley's Biographical Encyclopedia of The Negro Baseball Leagues.  It would have made Cain 37 for his inaugural season in the ManDak League in 1951 and 46 years old when he appears to have retired after the 1960 barnstorming season. 

With his arm and bat, Marion "Sugar" Cain was one of the most dominating players of the ManDak League.  Among his highlights :

*  His debut (May 30, 1951) was typical - a victory on the mound, an eight-hitter, and a contribution at the plate with a double and single.

* July 11, 1951 Cain fired a 3-hit, 10-inning shutout as Minot won, 2-0.

* August 18, 1951 Cain went all 12 innings, fanned 14, and laid down a bunt which scored the winner as Minot scored a 2-1 triumph.

* September 3, 1951, Cain had five hits, including two doubles and a triple, in a Minot playoff victory.

* Cain had a splendid 1952 debut with a three-hit shutout with 15 strikeouts as Minot trounced Brandon 10-0.

* July 6 and July 14, 1952 Cain fires back-to-back shutouts in league play.   In between he tossed a four-hitter to led Minot to top money in the Foam Lake Tournament.

* August 12, 1952 Cain pitches his 4th shutout of the season to clinch first place for the Mallards.

* Playoffs, 1952, Cain captured three victories, one a shutout, as Minot won its first ManDak title.

* May 23, 1953, it's a one-hitter with 12 strikeouts in 10 innings as Cain rounds into form for the 1953 season.

* July 10, 1953, a two-hit shutout for Cain in a 7-0 win over North Battleford in interlocking play.

* July 14, 1953, Cain homered in the first inning, then doubled and scored the winner in the 14th as he pitched and batted Minot to a 3-2 win over Carman.

* September, 1953, Cain again won three playoff games (to extend his playoff winning streak to seven games) to help Minot to the ManDak championship.

* July 4, 1954, Cain had three hits, one of them a two-run homer, and won his 6th straight mound decision as Minot whipped Brandon 15-2.

* July 16, 1954, Cain won his 8th straight in blanking Brandon 10-0.

* July 28, 1954, the winning streak went to 10 games as Cain had a homer and two singles in support of his nine-hit pitching in topping Williston 10-3.

* August 2, 1954, Cain ran his win streak to 11 games in a 14-1 win over Carman.

* June 5, 1955, another shutout in the books as Cain topped Bismarck 6-0.

* June 30, 1955, Cain ran his season mark to 6-0 in downing Dickinson 2-1.  He fanned 13, 9 of them on called third strikes.

* May 27, 1956, a new season, a familiar result - a five-hitter with 13 strikeouts as Cain wins his first of the season.

* June 14, 1956, a seven-hit shutout as Cain led Minot over North Battleford.

* August 28, 1956, Cain hurled Minot into a berth in the ManDak final with a two-hitter as Minot got by Bismarck 3-1.  He fanned 12.

Marion Sugar CainJames Riley’s The Biographical Encyclopedia of The Negro Baseball Leagues shows Cain's Negro League career beginning in 1936 with the Black Meteors, a semipro team in Philadelphia. In 1937 he would win a spot with the Atlantic City Bacharach Giants and later that season moved on to join the Pittsburgh Crawfords.

Cain pitched for Pittsburgh in 1938 and the following season with the New York Black Yankees and Brooklyn Royal Giants.

Cain said he had pitched a no-hitter for the Crawfords in 1937 against Cedarhurst, NY and a no-hitter in 1939 for the Black Yankees against the Springfield Greys.

"... The 1940 pitching staff of the Royal Giants is one of the best in the history of the club with ... "Sugar" Cain, one of last year's mainstays has been pitching his usual consistent baseball." (The Chicago Defender, July 6, 1940)

So, far there is little evidence of Cain for the period 1941 through 1944 (no records found of military service either).

Cain suited up with the Philadelphia Black Meteors in 1945, playing the outfield as he was reported to have a lame arm. 

[Cain photo above and below right, from the Oakland Museum of California, Catalog ID: H99.29.42 & ID: H99.29.36]

In 1946, Cain turns up with the Oakland Larks of the West Coast League.

Sugar Cain 1947" ... The Oakland Larks took two from the San Francisco Sea Lions, 7 to 1, and 11 to 4, before 4,000 fans here Sunday, June 2.  The Larks lead the West Coast league with 10 wins and one lost. Sugar Cain hurled the opener for the Larks.  Layton connected for five singles in the two games in nine times at the bat."  (The Chicago Defender, June 8, 1946)

On June 9, 1946, Cain tossed a two-hit shutout as the Oakland Larks downed the San Francisco Sea Lions 10-0 in the opener of a doubleheader.  The Lions won the second game 10-3.

July 6, 1948 Cain played centre field for the San Francisco Cubs as they touring club downed Brandon Greys 7-4 in an exhibition contest at Brandon.

"Baseball fans attending the 1948 season opener of the California Larks, who face the Oakland Bittners today ... will watch one of the best right-handed pitchers in baseball in Marion "Sugar" Cain, ace of the Larks pitching staff.  "Sugar" has a two-year record of 58 wins with 9 set-backs and that's pitching in any league."  (Oakland Tribune, May 9, 1948)

A story published in 1949 indicated Cain had been playing in the West Coast League with the Larks and the San Francisco Cubs in 1946-1947 and 1948. 

"Syd Pollock, general manager of the famed Indianapolis Clowns of the Negro American League, announces signing of two veteran Philadelphia ball players who will be new faces with the Clowns this season.

Signed to Clowns' contracts were Hubert "Country" Glenn and Marion "Sugar" Cain.  Glenn is 29, born and still resides in Philly.  A 201-pound righthander, he should prove a valuable addition to the Indianapolis hurling staff. He bats from the left side and is noted for his remarkable long distance hitting power.  Glenn performed for the Philly Stars in 1944, the Brooklyn Brown Dodgers in 1945, and for the last three years he has played independent ball. 

"Sugar" Cain, 26, was born in Macon, Ga., and now resides in Philadelphia. He also is a righthanded hurler but doubles in the outfield.  A very good man at the plate, hitting well in the clutches, Cain started his career with the Pittsburgh Crawfords in 1938 and for the last three seasons starred with the Oakland Larks and San Francisco Cubs out on the Pacific coast."  (The Chicago Defender, Feb. 26, 1949)

The 1949 edition of the Clowns had a host of players who later suited up in Western Canada.

" ...  Among the players being counted on for heavy duty for Haywood [Buster Haywood, catcher and manager] are such veteran performers as pitchers Andy Porter, Jim Cohen, Jim Cathey, Manuel Godinez, Lester Witherspoon, Walter Gibbons, Harry Butts, Sugar Cain, Winslow Means and Hubert Glenn.  In addition there will be infielders "Goose" Tatum, Ray Neil, Sherwood Brewer, Jesse Williams, Sammy Bankhead and Sammy Hairston; outfielders headed by the fleet Henry "Speed" Merchant, sensational Verdes Drake and hard-hitting Charlie Wilson.  The smart catching staff is topped by Buster Haywood and slugging Leonard Pigg."  (The Chicago Defender, March 5, 1949)

Newspaper reports claimed Cain had a record of 19-3 mark with the San Francisco Cubs in 1949 and a 22-3 record in 1950.   Cain was reported to have had a combined marked of 58-9 over 1946 and 1947, which would have given the right-hander a 99-15 record over those four seasons on the West Coast.   

Cain continued to barnstorm with the San Francisco Cubs in 1950 as the team shaded the Lethbridge Cubs 4-3 in August.

In 1951, Cain began his long-time association with the Minot Mallards.  The winter of 1951, he also pitched with  Nuevo Laredo of the Mexican League (2-1, 3.38).   For seven splendid summers, Sugar Cain and Zoonie McLean were the heart and soul of the Minot Mallards, league champions four straight seasons, 1952-53-54-55 and league finalists 1956-57.

In 1954, Cain made a brief return to the Negro Leagues.

"Based on performances in the early spring exhibitions, the Birmingham Black Barons will present a formidable array of pitching talent, backed up by some stickmen who can really lather the wood ... Last Sunday ... the Barons trounced the Louisville Clippers 5-0. Sugar Cain and Minsky Cartlege, two right-handers and Kelly Searcy, ace southpaw, held the Louisville batters to four hits ... These same three hurlers defeated the Detroit Stars ... the Barons bolstered the infield defense this week with the addition of Curly Williams, formerly with the Houston Eagles before he was sold to the Chicago White Sox, to play shortstop. Williams, who was with Toledo in the American Association two years ago, is a flashy fielder and good stickman."  (The Chicago Defender, May 8, 1954)

In late 1956, police in Minot were embarrassed when they tried to saddle Cain with a charge of vagrancy.  Appearing in court in November, Cain, 39, the ace pitcher for the Mallards, pleaded innocent.  Two officers who made the arrest entered a report saying that had observed Cain on numerous occasions late at night either standing in the window of a house or outside the premises.  City Prosecutor Paul Campbell said Cain had been "acting as a warner and lookout" in connection with illegal activities.  Police Magistrate Jonathan C. Eaton Jr. dismissed the charge saying the city had failed to prove its case. 

With the collapse of the ManDak League in 1957, Cain returned to the Negro Leagues as playing manger of the Kansas City Monarchs and some barnstorming against major leaguers with the Willie Mays All-Stars.

October 18, 1958 Cain fired a four-hitter as the Willie Mays All-Stars downed the Roy Sievers All-Stars 3-1 at Mexico City.

On October 23 he tossed a four-hit shutout as the Mays squad won, 10-0 at Gaudalajara.

The final game, played as a benefit for the Red Cross, drew 4,112 at Hermosillo. Marion (Sugar) Cain of the Kansas City Monarchs, who was Mays’ top pitcher on the trip, posted the clinching victory with a five-hit performance.” (The Sporting News, November 19, 1958)

In 1959, it appears Cain combined duties as playing-manager of the Kansas City Monarchs with a stint with the Mexico City Reds (4-8, 5.72) and a little more post-season barnstorming with major leaguers.

April 23, 1959, Cain fired a seven-hitter as Mexico City Reds downed Monterrey 6-3.  There is reference to Cain as formerly of the Kansas City Monarchs.  On May 14th, Cain pitched a four-hit, 14-2 win.  After his release by the Reds in July, Cain suited up with Minot in the Northern League,  compiling a 3-1, 3.77 record,  and also spent time back in the Negro Leagues (he seems to have gained a spot on the August All-Star squad). 

In early August, 1959 Cain led the Kansas City Monarchs to top money in the Lethbridge Rotary Tournament.  Cain was the winning pitcher in the championship game.

"Marion "Sugar" Cain, pitcher and sometimes manager from Philadelphia, joined the [Kansas City Monarchs] in the middle of last season and ended the campaign with the best record on the pitching staff, 10-1.  A hurler with plenty of control, Cain barnstormed with the Willie Mays' All-Stars during the winter and compiled a 12-4 slate."  (The Progress, August 29, 1959)

In the fall of 1959, Cain it was back barnstorming as he pitched for the Don Newcombe All-Stars. He had brought the Monarchs north in the summer of 1960 for the Lacombe Tournament where they were beaten in the opening round.  In the fall and winter of 1960, Cain had a final season of barnstorming as he took the mound for the Hank Aaron NL All-Stars.