Happy Birthday, Adair (Paddy) Mayes!

(Edited a typo, where I listed a city name as Muskegon when it should have been Muskogee.  I grew up in the midwest and my fingers didn’t type what was on the notes I had taken.  Thank you, Rod Nelson, for checking my work!  – Paul)

Adair (Paddy) Mayes spent a week on the Phillies roster in June, 1911, playing in five games, only two in the field.  A left handed hitter and right handed thrower, Mayes was likely the first player in MLB from Oklahoma.

Adair Bushyhead Mayes was born on 17 March 1885 to George Washington Mayes and Sarah Jane (Taylor) Mayes.  (Though, when he filled out his WWII registration card, he used the B. as an initial only…) On his social security death record, it suggests he was born in 1887… Adair was the second of three Mayes boys, Felix (Soggie) and Lindsay grew up in the same household.  Sarah must have had a son by another man – James Nicodemus was born in 1873 and living with the Mayes boys.  Mayes spent much of his youth on a Cherokee reservation – according to the Cherokee rolls of 1902, Mayes and his two siblings were 1/32nd Cherokee.  As such, a number of references to Adair in the papers referred to his Native American background.

Not only a fine baseball player, Adair’s speed was put to use on the Tahlequah football team as their left halfback.  He played baseball locally, usually in Muskogee, until he was noticed by scouts and signed to play with Shreveport in the Texas League.  When the seasons ended, he would return home to run amateur or semi-professional teams in Oklahoma.  For a couple of years, his brother Lindsay would play in teams either with Adair, or on competing teams in the same region.

Paddy Mayes, a half-breed Indian, who starred in the outer garden for the Shreveport, Texas League Club last season, sent on his signed contract to the Phillies yesterday. Mayes was another recruit scooped up in the scout dragnet by the Phillies’ talent-discoverer, and his is said to be a good one. With Mayes in line, the Quakers now have enough outfielders to make up a healthy looking outer garden patch. If some of the youngsters are as good as they are said to be then it’s all off with such stars as Sherwood Magee, Dode Paskert and John Titus.

“Phillies Sign Injun”, Philadelphia Inquirer, 17 December 1910, Page 10.

As you might guess, going from Oklahoma to Philadelphia was likely not an easy switch – so he spent much of his time quietly participating in practices and then mostly keeping to himself in the evenings.

Paddy Mayes is about the quietest individual who was every in a Phillies training camp, and Dooin says he has seen a few.

The Indian goes to bed every night at 9 o’clock and is never seen talking to anyone but Joe Mowrey. Paddy went to a moving picture show Friday night, and therefore was a little late in getting back to the hotel.

When he came in the door Dooin called him over and said: “I don’t like to see you keeping such late hours (it was then only 9:45), and the people who sleep in the room below you say they are unable to sleep because of the racket you make.

“The clerk says that the guests in the room below complain that there is dancing, singing, and carrying on in your room every night until early in the morning. I don’t like that sort of thing, and you will have to behave.”

Charley had handed this out without cracking a smile, and Mayes looked as though he had lost his best friend.

“Mr. Dooin, I haven’t done anything,” said Paddy. “I think it must be some one else.”

Mayes then took the elevator and the bunch roared. Dooin says Mayes’ answer was more than he has said before since he has been in camp. – Philadelphia Times.

“Sporting Review”, Lincoln Star, 19 March 1911, Page 8.

Mayes had a decent spring training with the Phillies, all teasing by his manager and teammates aside, where he made the team as a backup outfielder.  However, he never got in any action and was frequently dispatched to the minors.  Mayes wasn’t always happy (or interested) being shipped all over the country and would hold out.  After fighting with Galveston management in May, he was returned to the Phillies at the beginning of June and wound up playing with the major league team for a week.  When his time was up, he was sent back to the minors – and continued to be a problem for the minor league teams to which he was assigned.

Paddy Maeys, the Irish-Indian, sent by the Phillies to Mobile, did not last long there. Mayes has now been with Galveston, Austin, and Mobile since Fogel bought him from Shreveport. It is said he keeps his carpet bag packed waiting his next assignment.

“Dope For Fans”, Butler Citizen, 19 July 1911, Page 7.

The fast outfielder took a job playing with Beaumont in the Texas League, then Selma in the Cotton States League, and finally Macon in the South Atlantic League before returning to play ball in Muskegon for 1914.  Mayes went into the family business after the 1914 season but a couple of years later he got the itch to play again – so he signed with the Tulsa Producers for 1917.  That having failed, he began working as a salesman for a grocer.

Adair Mayes Trivia:  Will Rogers once used Mayes as a character in a story he was telling about Mexican calf ropers.  Mayes was quoted by Rogers as saying that professional baseball with the Phillies was what he expected – a lot of really good baseball players.  Rogers said that the same applied to his expectation of meeting and watching the Mexican calf ropers – he figured they’d be really good at it.

Adair Mayes Trivia (2):   He got his nickname, Paddy, because he was born on St. Patrick’s Day.

Adair B. (Paddy) Mayes, 78, died yesterday afternoon at his home at 722 Vandeventer. He was a retired employee of Continental Oil Company in Ponca City, Okla. He attended the Cherokee Seminary at Tahlequah, Okla., and for a number of years played professional baseball with the Philadelphia Phillies. He was born March 17, 1885 in Mayes Country, Okla., the son of George Washington and Sarah Jane Taylor Mayes.

Survivors include the widow, Estella of the home; one daugther, Mrs. (Stella) Marie Kittrell of Fayetteville; one brother, Lindsey of Locust Grove, Okla., and one grandson.

Funeral will be at 2 p.m. Friday in Moore’s Chapel. Buriel in Farmington Cemetery.”

“Obituary: Adair B. (Paddy) Mayes”, Northwest Arkansas Times, 29 May 1963, page 8.


1900 US Census
1910 US Census
1920 US Census
1930 US Census
1893 Oklahoma Territory Census
Cherokee Roles of 1896, 1902
WWI US Draft Registration Card

“Tahlequah Wins”, Vinita Daily Chieftan, 29 November 1907, Page 1.

“Paddy Mayes and His Braves Here”, Muskogee Times-Democrat, 24 September 1910, Page 7.

“Phillies Sign Injun”, Philadelphia Inquirer, 17 December 1910, Page 10.

“Sporting Review”, Lincoln Star, 19 March 1911, Page 8.

“Donohue Released Bradford.”, Houston Post, 27 May 1911, Page 5.

“Several Selma Players Report To Other Clubs”, Montgomery Adviser, 29 July 1913, Page 9.

“Paddy Mayes is Now a Producer”, Tulsa Daily World, 13 February 1917, Page 6.

Will Rogers. “A Day on a Big Ranch”, Montgomery Advertiser, 29 November 1931, Page 11.

“Obituary: Adair B. (Paddy) Mayes”, Northwest Arkansas Times, 29 May 1963, page 8.


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