Black Baseball’s Last Team Standing

The Birmingham Black Barons, 1919–1962

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About the Book

The Birmingham Black Barons were a nationally known team in baseball’s Negro leagues from 1920 through 1962. Among its storied players were Hall of Famers Satchel Paige, Willie Mays, and Mule Suttles. The Black Barons played in the final Negro Leagues World Series in 1948 and were a major drawing card when barnstorming throughout the United States and parts of Canada. This book chronicles the team’s history and presents the only comprehensive roster of the hundreds of men who wore the Black Barons uniform.

About the Author(s)

Retired journalist and freelance writer, William J. Plott, a member of the Society for American Baseball Research since 1971, has been a member of SABR’s Negro Leagues Committee since its inception. He was also a member of the Negro Leagues Researchers and Authors Group that compiled Negro league statistics for the Hall of Fame. He lives in Montevallo, Alabama.

Bibliographic Details

William J. Plott
Format: softcover (7 x 10)
Pages: 345
Bibliographic Info: 35 photos, appendices, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2019
pISBN: 978-1-4766-7788-0
eISBN: 978-1-4766-3603-0
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix
Introduction 1
1. The “Bold”/“Coal” Black Barons (1919) 7
2. The Negro Southern League (1920–22) 14
3. Playing in Two Leagues (1923) 28
4. Full Time in the NNL (1924) 38
5. A Season of Struggle (1925) 43
6. Satchel Paige and the Revival of the Negro Southern League (1926) 48
7. Birmingham Returns to the Majors (1927) 57
8. Misplaced Optimism (1928) 65
9. A Season with Few Highlights (1929) 70
10. Return to the Negro National League (1930) 75
11. Return of the Negro Southern League (1931) 82
12. The Worst Season Ever? (1932) 87
13. Where Are the Black Barons? (1933) 92
14. A New Season, a New Name (1934) 97
15. Return of the Black Barons (1935) 100
16. The End of an Era (1936) 105
17. The Negro American League (1937–38) 114
18. Death and Resurrection (1939–41) 121
19. The War Years (1942–45) 129
20. Two Seasons with Tommy Sampson (1946–47) 154
21. Piper and Willie (1948–49) 172
22. The Beginning of the End (1950) 193
23. A New Division (1951) 202
24. New Leadership and a Disputed Championship (1952) 208
25. A ­Four-Team League (1953) 218
26. Playing with Pride (1954) 223
27. Gatemouth Moore and White Owners (1955) 232
28. Black Barons or Giants? (1956) 238
29. The Negro American League Rebounds (1957) 244
30. Contraction (1958) 250
31. A Brief Reprieve (1959) 255
32. Last Team Standing? (1960–62) 260
Appendix A: ­Year-by-Year Standings, Spring Training Sites, Opening Day Attendance, First-Pitch Honorees, ­No-Hitters, ­No-Hitters Against, East–West Game ­All-Stars 271
Appendix B: Birmingham Black Barons ­All-Time Roster 278
Chapter Notes 293
Bibliography 317
Index 325