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 Team and League History


??? 1885

      The first year of the Birmingham Coal Barons. Games were played at the Slag Pile (West End Park). T.C.I., which owned the land, would only grant one 60-day lease at a time. The Barons would also play in East Lake.   
   ??? 1901   
      The Southern Association was formed, with franchises in Birmingham, Selma, New Orleans, Shreveport, Little Rock, Memphis, Nashville and Chattanooga.   
   ??? 1910   
      The Barons moved to Rickwood Field in 1910. Rickwood was the first concrete and steel ballpark in the minor leagues. Owner A. H. (Rick) Woodward consulted Philadelphia's legendary manager Connie Mack on building the 12.7 acre park. Woodward used Philadelphia's Shibe Park and Pittsburgh's Forbes Field as models. The name of the park originated from Woodward's first name and the first part of his last name.   
   April 1921   
    A tornado rips through Rickwood Field, destroying the wooden outfield fence and the bleachers, causing $30,000 in damages.   
   November 1947   
    Barons general manager Eddie Glennon announces that the Barons will operate the new Class C Cotton State League Natchez club beginning next year. The Barons purchased a majority of the Natchez stock.

Last season, Natchez was in the Class D Evangeline League and had a working agreement with the Barons.

   December 1947   
    Fred Walters is hired as the Barons player-manager for the 1948 season. 

Walters is fairly new to the managing end of a ball club. Walters began his managing career in 1946 when he  became the manager of the Louisville Colonels after Harry Leibold was suspended for "umpire difficulties" during the season. Last year, he was the player-manager of the New Orleans Pelicans.

The Barons also announce they have agreed to become a farm club of the Boston Red Sox. 

   ??? 1957   
      Detroit Tigers logoAgreement with Detroit Tigers reached.   
   November 1961   
    While at the Southern Association's winter meetings in Tampa, Florida, owner Albert Belcher announces that the Barons will not operate in 1962. League directors have asked Belcher to play against integrated teams in Rickwood Field and he has refused.

The city of Birmingham has an ordinance that prohibits the mixing of white and black baseball players in competition and Belcher said has been told by some of the other teams in the league that they would be playing black players next season.

The league then asked Belcher to move the team but he has refused. "The league directors wanted me to move the franchise to another city, but I refused. Birmingham is my home town and I plan to remain here," Belcher said.

In addition, the Barons' working agreement with MLB's Detroit Tigers has been cancelled.

Belcher has asked the league to allow him to retain the franchise on an inactive basis and the league directors have agreed.

   ??? 1964   
      A new Southern League was formed, comprised of members of the Southern Association and the South Atlantic League.   
   April 1966   
      The city of Birmingham purchases Rickwood Field from Belcher.   
   Email Gene Crowley

Last Update: September 16, 2014