I began my research on baseball history by stumbling across fleeting mentions of the Austin Black Senators negro team while reading about Central Texas players like hall-of-famers Willie Wells, Hilton Smith, and Smokey Joe Williams. This piqued my curiosity and then I starting trying to find all I could on the actual Austin Black Senators, and well, there isn't much out there at all. Some sources have them starting to play in the 1900's, others the 1920's. It is known that the originally played on Dobbs Field close to Tom Miller Dam and ended their existence playing on Downs Field which is still in use most spring and summer nights on E 12th Street. There are few, if any, players or people affiliated with the team alive to recollect on it. Besides a few interviews with players like Willie Wells, Hilton Smith, and a spattering of mentions in Central Texas newspapers over the decades (or more accurately, past century), the well of information on the Austin Black Senators is unfortunately shallow.
One of the more known things about the team is their 1933 barnstorming trip to Mexico, due to future Kansas City Monarchs ace Hilton Smith speaking of it in many interviews and this being viewed as one of the first time an American blackball team made a successful foray into Mexico for barnstorming purposes. Through the Austin History Center and their archives, there is one mention of this trip in the August 28, 1933 edition of the Austin American newspaper. Finding out the details behind this brief paragraph is currently my biggest mystery to be solved in the research projects I am working on:
Negro Ball Captain Dies - Sam Irvin, captain of the Austin Black Senators baseball team, dropped dead in Monterrey, Mexico, Saturday, according to a telegram received by L. D. Lyons from his son, Joe Lyons, business mannager of the Senators here Sunday.
Any information on this incident or the people involved would be appreciated and I will keep you posted on what, if anything, I can find on what happened to Sam Irvin in Monterrey during the summer of 1933.