Joe was born in Memphis Tennessee on October 2, 1920. Dad was a mechanic in his own shop. He left home when Joe was 10 years old in pursuit of success with a cousin. His Mom raised Joe alone. Although he grew up in a broken home, Joe was grateful for his one brother and two sisters and especially for his mother and her willingness to put her whole self into raising her kids.
Joe B. Scott loved to play baseball starting at a very early age. Mom used to scold Joe B. good for playing baseball. She had always considered baseball a sort of tie in to gambling. Childhood came with a great deal of challenges for the youngster. He moved to live with his Aunt in Chicago at the age of 16. When he arrived in Chicago, he was introduced to the folks at Tilden Tech High School. Joe was an all around athlete, an ambitious and optimistic youngster that brought another glimmer of success to the high school sports program as well as the chess team. He had a natural ability for playing chess and really enjoyed the competition. Joe was the only black player on the football team at Tilden. The right tackle for the team was a friend named Lou Remkus. Many years after high school and college, Lou was selected to become the first coach of the National Football Leagues Houston Oilers.
With spring came baseball and Joe could not be more pleased. Tilden’s game against Kelly High School taught him the importance of being aware and in the moment. a lesson Joe was not in the line-up to play but in the fourth inning down on the scoreboard and needing a hit, the coach walked up and said, “Hey Brown, you hit for Bennie Horner. Joe stepped up to the plate and doubled winning the game for Tilden Tech. He reported his game-winning performance to his Aunt and told her about the coach calling him “Brown”. She told him to go back to the coach and tell him that his name was Joe B. Scott. When Monday morning came, Joe went to the coach and asked if he could speak with him for a moment. He said, “Coach, when you called on me to pinch hit, you called me Brown.” He said, “sit down, Scott. Did I insult you?” Joe replied, “No sir, you didn’t insult me.” The coach interrupted Joe and said, “If anyone insults you today, you straighten him out today, don’t wait for tomorrow.” Joe thanked the coach for his words and on his way out heard the coach say, “You keep hitting that ball and you’ll be in every ball game. Joe didn’t miss another game. His contributions to the success of the Tilden High baseball program led to his induction to the school’s Hall of Fame many years later.
After high school, Joe found action on the fields of semi-pro and industrial teams. He was a hard working, self-made young man. In the off-season, he lugged beef to boxcars to earn a living.
In 1939 Satchel Paige met Joe B. Scott and brought aboard his team for a barnstorming tour. Joe offered the team consistent hitting, steady fielding and an ability to steal bases. The team traveled to cities abroad to fulfill challenges of major league, minor league and military teams. These games were great entertainment and drew big crowds. Joe’s effort earned him All-Star appearances alongside his friend and teammate Mr. Satchel Paige.
A man by the name of Abe Saperstein, a well known manager of talent, met Joe B. and brought him aboard the Zulu Giants roster for a short time. Pittsburgh manager Gus Greenlee once offered him $750.00 plus travel to join the Crawfords. Joe did accept an opportunity to play for the Philadelphia Athletics.
In 1942, Mr. Scott was called into the Air Force – Special Services. Assigned to the 345th Aviation Squadron, Joe held down his responsibilities while playing sports for his unit. They played Negro League teams and major league teams as well. When Lt. Col. McGill scouted Joe’s performance at a post game, He transferred him from this unit to play baseball for another unit.
In 1945, Joe left military service and returned to the fields of the Negro Leagues Memphis Red Sox. During his days with the Red Sox he rode the bus for many hours with the rest of the team. Satchel followed the bus in his limo, stopping off at fishing holes whenever he felt the urge.
He spent the 1946 season with the New York Black Yankees. After being offered a measly $350.00 per month to continue his efforts, Joe left baseball behind.