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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 manager.














???, 1910
      Photo
Needed
  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.

February 30, 1944
Southern League owners meet in Nashville to discuss upcoming season. Also on the agenda is the possibility of the Southern Association starting their own professional football league.














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 xxx Photograph xxx Photograph
  Co-owner Al DeMent   Co-owner Rufus Lackey   Co-owner 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 the 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.

???, 1952
     Photograph
  Manager Albert Vincent
   
Albert Vincent is named manager.













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














     Photograph
  Manager Phil Page
   














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












???, 1959
     Photograph
  Manager Lamar
"Skeeter" Newsome
   

















     Photograph
  Manager Frank Skaff
   














???, 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.

Epilogue
It took two years, but baseball returned to the city in the form of the Birmingham Athletics, a member of the Southern League. The A's played in Birmingham for nine years before the team was moved to Chattanooga.

This time, it took three years before baseball returned. In 1978 the upstart Freedom Baseball League's Alabama Barons began play at Rickwood Field. The league would fold after five games, and the undefeated Barons were deemed champions.

After another three year span without baseball, Art Clarkson brought the Southern League back to town in 1981 when he purchased the Montgomery Rebels and moved them here to become the Birmingham Barons.

Both the Birmingham Barons and the Southern League are still active to this day.

Champions of the
Southern Association
Year Team Year Team Year Team
  1901     Nashville Baseball Club   1922     Mobile Bears   1943     Nashville Vols (7th)
1902   Nashville Baseball Club (2nd)   1923   New Orleans Pelicans (6th) 1944   Nashville Vols (8th)
1903   Memphis Egyptians 1924   Memphis Chicks (2nd) 1945   Mobile Bears (2nd)
1904   Memphis Egyptians (2nd) 1925   Atlanta Crackers (5th) 1946   Atlanta Crackers (8th)
1905   New Orleans Pelicans 1926   New Orleans Pelicans (7th) 1947   Mobile Bears (3rd)
1906   Birmingham Barons 1927   New Orleans Pelicans (8th) 1948   Birmingham Barons (8th)
1907   Atlanta Crackers 1928   Birmingham Barons (4th) 1949   Nashville Vols (9th)
1908   Nashville Vols 1929   Birmingham Barons (5th) 1950   Nashville Vols (10th)
1909   Atlanta Crackers (2nd) 1930   Memphis Chicks (3rd) 1951   Birmingham Barons (9th)
1910   New Orleans Pelicans (2nd) 1931   Birmingham Barons (6th) 1952   Memphis Chicks (4th)
1911   New Orleans Pelicans (3rd) 1932   Chattanooga Lookouts 1953   Nashville Vols (11th)
1912   Birmingham Barons (2nd) 1933   New Orleans Pelicans (9th) 1954   Atlanta Crackers (9th)
1913   Atlanta Crackers (2nd) 1934   New Orleans Pelicans (10th)   1955   Mobile Bears (4th)
1914   Birmingham Barons (3rd) 1935   Atlanta Crackers (6th) 1956   Atlanta Crackers (10th)
1915   New Orleans Pelicans (4th) 1936   Birmingham Barons (7th) 1957   Atlanta Crackers (11th)
1916   Nashville Vols (2nd) 1937   Little Rock Travelers (2nd) 1958   Birmingham Barons (10th)
1917   Atlanta Crackers (3rd) 1938   Atlanta Crackers (7th) 1959   Mobile Bears (5th)
1918   New Orleans Pelicans (5th) 1939   Nashville Vols (3rd) 1960   Little Rock Travelers (3rd)
1919   Atlanta Crackers (4th) 1940   Nashville Vols (4th) 1961   Chattanooga Lookouts 2nd)  
1920   Little Rock Travelers 1941   Nashville Vols (5th)     
1921   Memphis Chicks 1942   Nashville Vols (6th)    
   
           Years local team participated


Champions of the
Southern League/Double-A South
Year Team Year Team Year Team
  1964     Lynchburg White Sox   1984     Charlotte Orioles (2nd)   2004     Mobile BayBears (2nd)
  Tennessee Smokies
1965   Columbus Confederate Yankees   1985   Huntsville Stars 2005   Jacksonville Suns (3rd)
1966   Mobile Athletics 1986   Columbus Astros (2nd) 2006   Montgomery Biscuits
1967   Birmingham Athletics 1987   Birmingham Barons (2nd) 2007   Montgomery Biscuits (2nd)
1968   Asheville Tourists 1988   Chattanooga Lookouts 2008   Mississippi Braves
1969   Charlotte Hornets 1989   Birmingham Barons (3rd) 2009   Jacksonville Suns
1970   Columbus Astros 1990   Memphis Chicks 2010   Jacksonville Suns (2nd)
1971   Charlotte Hornets (2nd) 1991   Orlando Sun Rays 2011   Mobile BayBears (3rd)
1972   Montgomery Rebels 1992   Greenville Braves 2012   Mobile BayBears (4th)
1973   Montgomery Rebels (2nd) 1993   Birmingham Barons (4th) 2013   Birmingham Barons (6th)
1974   Knoxville Sox 1994   Huntsville Stars (2nd) 2014   Jacksonville Suns (3rd)
1975   Montgomery Rebels (3rd) 1995   Carolina Mudcats 2015   Chattanooga Lookouts (2nd)
1976   Montgomery Rebels (4th) 1996   Jacksonville Suns 2016   Jackson Generals
1977   Montgomery Rebels (5th) 1997   Greenville Braves (2nd) 2017   Chattanooga Lookouts (3rd)
  Pensacola Blue Wahoos
1978   Knoxville Sox (2nd) 1998   Mobile BayBears 2018   Jackson Generals (2nd)
1979   Nashville Sounds 1999   Orlando Rays 2019   Jackson Generals (3rd)
1980   Charlotte Orioles 2000   West Tennessee Diamond Jaxx   2020   Season cancelled: COVID-19  
1981   Orlando Twins 2001   Huntsville Stars (3rd)
  Jacksonville Suns (2nd)
2021   Mississippi Braves (2nd)
1982   Nashville Sounds (2nd) 2002   Birmingham Barons (5th) 2022   Pensacola Blue Wahoos (2nd)  
1983   Birmingham Barons 2003   Carolina Mudcats (2nd) 2023   Tennessee Smokies (2nd)
 
           Years local team participated


  Teams of the                           
Southern Association                           
xxx   xxx   xxx   xxx   xxx   xxx
    
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  Atlanta Atlantas
1886;
1894
  Atlanta Bluebirds
1894
  Atlanta Colts
1898
  Atlanta Crackers
1895 to 1896;
1903 to 1961
  Atlanta Firemen
1902
 
                     
    
NEED
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  Atlanta Firecrackers
1892
  Atlanta Windjammers
1893
  Augusta ???
1898
  Augusta Browns
1886
  Augusta Electricians
1893
 
                     
  Birmingham Barons logo   NEED
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  NEED
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  NEED
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  Birmingham Barons
1901 to 1961
  Birmingham Bluebirds
1896
  Birmingham Blues
1893
  Birmingham Grays
1892 to 1893
  Birmingham Reds
1898
 
                     
    
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  Charleston Seagulls
1866;
1893 to 1894;
1898
  Chattanooga Chatts
1892
  Chattanooga Lookouts
1886;
1901 to 1902;
1910 to 1961
  Chattanooga Warriors
1893;
1895
  Columbus Babies
1896
 
                     
    
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  Columbus River Snipes
1896
  Dallas Scrappers
1899
  Evansville Black Birds
1895
  Knoxville Smokies
1931 to 1944
  Little Rock Travelers
1895;
1901 to 1909;
1915 to 1958;
1960 to 1961
 
                     
    
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  Macon ???
1886
  Macon Central City
1892 to 1893
  Macon Hornets
1893 to 1894
  Macon Peaches
1961
  Memphis Chickasaws
1912 to 1960
 
                     
    
NEED
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  NEED
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  NEED
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  NEED
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  Memphis Egyptians
1901 to 1908
  Memphis Fever Germs
1893
  Memphis Giants
1892;
1894 to 1895
  Memphis Grays
1886
  Memphis Lambs
1895
 
                     
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  Mobile Bears logo   NEED
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  Memphis Turtles
1909 to 1911
  Mobile Bears
1918 to 1930;
1944 to 1961
  Mobile Blackbirds
1892 to 1893;
1896;
1898 to 1899
  Mobile Bluebirds
1894 to 1895
  Mobile Marines
1931
 
                     
    
NEED
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  Mobile Sea Gulls
1908 to 1917
  Montgomery Billikens
1911
  Montgomery Black Sox
1903
  Montgomery Climbers
1909 to 1910
  Montgomery Colts
1893
 
                     
    
NEED
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  Montgomery Grays
1895
  Montgomery Lambs
1892
  Montgomery Rebels
1912 to 1914;
1943;
1956
  Montgomery Senators
1896;
1898 to 1899;
1904 to 1908
  Nashville Americans
1886
 
                     
    
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  Nashville Seraphs
1895
  Nashville Tigers
1893 to 1894
  Nashville Volunteers
1901 to 1961
  New Orleans Pelicans
1892 to 1896;
1898 to 1899;
1901 to 1959
  Pensacola ???
1893
 
                     
    
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  Savannah ???
1886;
1898
  Savannah Electrics
1893
  Savannah Modocs
1894
  Savannah Rabbits
1893
  Selma Christians
1901
 
                     
    
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  Shreveport Giants
1901 to 1903
  Shreveport Pirates
1904 to 1907
  Shreveport Sports
1959 to 1961
  Shreveport Tigers
1899
     
                     


  Teams of the                            
Southern League                            
xxx   xxx   xxx   xxx   xxx   xxx
  NEED
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  Birmingham Barons logo   Charlotte Hornets logo   NEED
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  Columbus Confederate Yankees logo  
  Asheville Tourists
1964 to 1965
  Birmingham Barons
1964 to 1965
  Charlotte Hornets
1964 to 1965
  Chattanooga Lookouts
1964 to 1965
  Columbus Confederate Yankees
1964 to 1965
 
                     
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  Lynchburg White Sox logo   NEED
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  Montgomery Rebels logo      
  Knoxville Smokies
1964 to 1965
  Lynchburg White Sox
1964 to 1965
  Macon Peaches
1964
  Montgomery Rebels
1965
     
                     
 
 
 
Contact Gene Crowley
Last update: November 20, 2023