Saturday, September 23, 2023

Mississippi’s Greatest Athletes: Harry ‘Popeye’ Craft


Harry “Popeye” Craft had a lengthy and highly successful career in baseball, covering parts of seven decades. Craft was an Ellisville native who lettered in football, basketball, track, and baseball at Mississippi College from 1931-35. He was inducted into the MC Sports Hall of Fame in 1973.

Screen Shot 2015-04-21 at 2.17.14 PMAfter his years of multiple sports at the Clinton school, Craft spent the next 55 years in baseball. His professional playing career took him to the Cincinnati Reds from 1937- 43. The team won the National League in 1938 and the World Series in 1940. Craft led all National League outfielders in 1938 with 436 putouts. He was inducted into the Cincinnati Reds Hall of Fame in 1963. Craft was with the Kansas City Blues from 1946-48, as a player the first two seasons and as a coach the final season. He was an All-Star in both the American and National Leagues.

As a manager, coach, field coordinator, or scout, Craft was a part of the American League, National League, and Texas League from 1948-92. Craft was inducted into the Texas Baseball Hall of Fame in 1985. He died in 1985 at age of 80.


Courtesy of Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame and Museum director Rick Cleveland, author of Mississippi’s Greatest Athletes. Cleveland can be reached at