Nate “Sweetwater” Clifton

The 6’9 lefty power hitter and first baseman was one of the most famous players in the game. He was a star player around Washington Park before he went to DuSable High School, thanks to the guidance of Dan Dumas. His guidance was not always divine as he would sneak out from Sunday School for big games. Played for the Brown Bombers and Capitol Records team of the Daddy O’Daylie League. He was the key to the two Bomber’s Windy City successes in the late 40’s. In ’48 he took the WCL home run title from Red Hurter with 52. His DuSable High School basketball team was the first black team to win the Public League Championship with a record 45 points. Nate attended Xavier College, was drafted in the Army and served in Europe during WWII. Joined the Globetrotters in ’48. So good, he was the first black player in the NBA and unfortunately has never garnered the notoriety Jackie Robinson did in baseball. He averaged 10 points 9 rebounds in seven seasons with the Knicks and one with the Pistons. He always covered the toughest scorer of each team they played. He also played 1st base for a Cleveland Indians farm team. His affinity for only sugar/sweets in his water drink is how his nickname was derived. He drank nothing else. One of the 1st athletes honored in the Chicago Afro American Hall of Fame. 1927-1990.