Born December 14, 1892 in Wellington, B.C., Claxton was of multi-ethnic heritage, including African Canadian. He played for the Oakland Oaks of the Pacific Coast League in 1916, posing as a Native American before his heritage became public, at which point he was released. Claxton became an itinerant semi-professional, claiming to have played in all but two of the 48 contiguous United States. He appeared on a Zee-Nut series baseball card in 1916, the first for a black player on a U.S.-made card in modern organized baseball, and may have been the first black player to briefly skirt the colour bar in the 20th century until his full identity was revealed. In 1932, Claxton played for two teams in the East-West League, a Negro league recently raised to major league status. To date, he is the only Canadian Negro Leaguer with such upgraded major league identity. He died on March 3, 1970 in Tacoma, Wash.
Photo courtesy of David Eskenazi Collection