First Mexican-born big-league pitcher and Buffalo Soldier/Negro League hurler honored at Vintage Base Ball Tournament, April 1st and 2nd, 2023
One was the Jalisco-born son of Mexican immigrants, a southern California fruit picker who pitched for one of Bisbee’s best minor league teams and then rose through the minors to become a big-league screwball pitcher and one of major league baseball’s most successful scouts.
The other was a Kentucky-born Buffalo Soldier who served in two World Wars, a southpaw hurler who consistently handcuffed Bisbee batters as a baseball player for the 10th U.S. Cavalry and later went on to a long career as pitcher and manager in the Negro Leagues.
Jesus “Jesse” Flores, the first Mexican-born player to pitch in the U.S. major leagues and Carl Lee “Butch” Glass, a pitcher for the celebrated Buffalo Soldiers while stationed at Camp Naco and Fort Huachuca, will be honored for their accomplishments on and off the diamond during the 12th Annual Copper City Classic Vintage Base Ball Tournament, scheduled for April 1 and 2, 2023 at historic Warren Ballpark in Bisbee, AZ.
Flores, born in Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico in 1914, entered professional baseball for the 1938 Bisbee Bees, compiling a 24-6 record before working his way up to the AA Los Angeles Angels of the Pacific Coast League and in 1942, the Chicago Cubs. He later pitched for the Philadelphia Athletics and the Cleveland Indians.
As a legendary baseball scout for the Minnesota Twins, Flores signed dozens of players who made it to the big leagues, including Baseball Hall of Famer Bert Blyleven and Arizona Diamondbacks manager/University of Arizona baseball coach Chip Hale. Flores died in Orange County, California in 1991.
Jesse Flores was honored each year during the Jesse Flores Memorial All-Star Game, which featured many of southern California’s top baseball prospects.
Glass, born in Lexington, KY in 1898, enlisted in the cavalry during World War I, became a left-handed baseball pitcher for the 9th U.S. Cavalry in the Philippines and later, for the 10th U.S. Cavalry in Cochise County, Arizona.
In 1920, as a pitcher for Troop L, 10th U.S. Cavalry and the 10th’s regimental team, “Lefty” Glass won 6 games against teams from Bisbee and suffered no losses.
From 1923 through 1930, Glass pitched for the Memphis Red Sox, Birmingham Black Barons, Kansas City Monarchs, St. Louis Stars, Chicago American Giants, and Louisville Black Caps of the Negro Leagues. He also managed the Cincinnati Tigers in 1936 and the Memphis Red Sox in 1924, 1928 and 1929.
In 1942, Glass re-enlisted in the U.S. Army at age 44. He later worked as an associate scout for the Baltimore Orioles and for the federal government at the U.S. Army’s Lexington Signal Depot until his retirement. Glass died in Lexington, KY in 1972.
This year’s vintage base ball tournament will feature teams and players from throughout Arizona as well as from California and Colorado. One of the teams, the Maricopa Maidens, is an all-female team from the Phoenix metroplex that plays in uniforms identical to those worn by women in the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League during the 1940s and 50s.
Vintage base ball is the early version of the game played by 1860 rules and using equipment, uniforms and terminology dating back a century or more. Fielders play bare handed and pitching is underhand.
The tournament, hosted by the Friends of Warren Ballpark, raises funds to help keep Warren Ballpark, a 113-year-old multi-sport facility owned by the Bisbee Unified School District, in good operating condition. Since 1909, Warren Ballpark has served as a venue for minor league, major league and “outlaw” league professional teams, adult soccer and rugby teams and has also been the home field for Bisbee High School’s varsity baseball, football and soccer teams.
In 1917, Warren Ballpark was the focal point for the infamous “Bisbee Deportation, during which 1,186 striking miners and others were kidnapped by vigilantes and sent by rail to Columbus, NM. The event was the subject of indie film Director Robert Greene’s critically acclaimed feature film “Bisbee ’17,” released in 2018.
For more information about the tournament, contact the Friends of Warren Ballpark at www.friendsofwarrenballpark.com, visit the Friends of Warren Ballpark Facebook page, email [email protected] or call 520-366-1455.