(1871 - 1913)
Louis Sockalexis was the first Native American to play major league baseball. Sockalexis, a Penobscot Indian, was born in Old Town, Maine, and grew up playing baseball on Indian Island. Sockalexis went to Holy Cross College for two years before following his coach out to Notre Dame College in Indiana. Soon he signed with the Cleveland Spiders, a team which later was renamed the Cleveland Indians, in honor of Sockalexis. His name (his nickname was "the Sock") and his powerful throwing arm inspired his fans to shout, "Sock it to them, Sockalexis!" when he was on the field. Sockalexis' addiction to alcohol eventually ended his professional baseball career. On his return to Indian Island, he inspired many young Penobscot boys by coaching boys' baseball team, and worked as a logger at a camp in Burlington, Maine. Forty-three years after his death in 1913, Sockalexis was honored by an induction in the Holy Cross Athletic Hall of Fame.
Source: The Maine Almanac, by Jim Brunelle. Portland: Guy Gannett Books, 1979; and "Louis Francis Sockalexis: The Life Story of a Penobscot Indian," by Trina Wellman. Augusta: Department of Indian Affairs.