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Birmingham Barons logo Birmingham Barons
Southern League
Rickwood Field

Team and League History


???, 1885
The first year of the Birmingham Coal Barons. Games were played at the Slag Pile (West End Park).

Tennessee Coal and Iron (TCI), 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.

???, ???
     Photograph 
  Manager Carlton Molesworth
   
The Barons hire Carlton Molesworth to be their next manager.














???, 1910
     xxx
  Owner A. H. "Rick" Woodard
   
The Barons move to Rickwood Field. Rickwood is 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 16, 1921
A tornado rips through Rickwood Field, destroying the wooden outfield fence and the bleachers, causing $30,000 in damages.

???, 1944
     Photograph 
  Owner G. J. "Gus" Jebeles
   
The Barons are now owned by G. J. "Gus" Jebeles.














November 4, 1947
     Boston Red Sox logo
   
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 4, 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.



???, ???
     Photograph
  Manager Fred Walters
   
Fred Walters is named the Barons manager for 1948.














April 1949
     Photograph
  1949 layout of Rickwood Field
   






























???, ???
     Photograph 
  Manager Mike Higgins
   
Mike Higgins is announced as the new Barons manager.














???, ???
     Photograph   Photograph   Photograph
  Owners Al DeMent, Rufus Lackey, and Albert Belcher
   
New owners for the Barons are Al DeMent, Rufus Lackey, and Albert Belcher.

November 26, 1951
While at the Southern Association's winter meetings in Tampa, 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.

???, 1953
     New York Yankees logo
   
The Barons have an agreement with the New York Yankees.













???, 1957
     Detroit Tigers logo
   
Agreement with Detroit Tigers reached.












???, 1964
     Kansas City Athletics
   
The Barons establish an agreement with the Kansas City Athletics.














     Photograph 
  Owner Albert Belcher
   















???, 1964
     Photograph 
  Manager Haywood Sullivan
   
The Barons name Haywood Sullivan as manager. This will be his first time in the manager position.

A product of the University of Florida, Sullivan began his major league career with the Boston Red Sox in 1955. After playing for the Red Sox and numerous minor league affiliates of their system, Sullivan was acquired by the Kansas City Athletics in 1961. He stayed with the Athletics organization until last season.











     Photograph 
  Rickwood Field
   


















???, 1964
     South Atlantic League logo
   
The Southern League is formed, comprised of members of the Southern Association and the South Atlantic League.








???, ???
     Photograph 
  Manager John McNamara
   
John McNamara is named the new Barons manager.

A native of Sacramento, California, McNamara was originally signed by the St. Louis Cardinals in 1951. In 1960 he became player-manager at Lewiston, Idaho. They won a pennant in 1961. Last season in Dallas was McNamara's first year as a non-playing manager.














April ???, 1966
The city of Birmingham purchases Rickwood Field from Belcher.





???, ??
 
1965
Southern League
Western Division Central Division Eastern Division
     
     
     
     

 
 
 
Contact Gene Crowley

Last update: July 13, 2018