George Alexander Sweatt is best remembered as one of the ballplayers from the glory days of baseball’s Negro Leagues, one of the many who was likely good enough to play in the major leagues but never got the chance due to their race.  Sweatt would play in the first four Negro Leagues World Series, playing for the Kansas City Monarchs in 1924 and 1925, and the Chicago American Giants in 1926 and 1927.

But he also served in the Great War.

He was born at Humboldt on December 7, 1893.  Starting as a teenager he played semi-pro baseball for African American teams in Iola and Chanute.  During the war he saw service with the all-black 816th Pioneer Infantry Regiment.  He had enlisted on July 15, 1918, and served until November 11, 1919.  He didn’t get to France until two weeks before the Armistice, but while he went in as a private, he came out a Sergeant Major.

Once home, he attended Pittsburg State University, made a name for himself in athletics, and graduated with a teaching degree.  His athleticism caught the eye of the owner of the Kansas City Monarchs, which signed him to a contract in 1922.  He would play for seven seasons, and played every position except shortstop.  He managed a few semi-pro teams in Chicago after he retired as an active player.

He worked as a mail carrier in the Chicago area until his retirement, then moved to Los Angeles where he died on July 19, 1983.

Sweatt is remembered in his hometown of Humboldt with a park named for him, and also remembered along with another baseball player from the town of roughly the same era–Walter Johnson.




Blair Tarr is the Museum Curator of the Kansas State Historical Society. He oversees the three-dimensional collections of the Society, but has special interests in the Civil War, Wichita-made Valentine diners, and Leavenworth's Abernathy Furniture. In the last few years he has also done a lot of cramming on The Great War. He is a past president of the Kansas Museums Association and the Civil War Round Tables of both Kansas City and Eastern Kansas. He is currently a board member of the Heritage League of Greater Kansas City.