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Birmingham Black Barons records

 Collection
Identifier: MSSP 0001

Scope and Content Note

The collection consists primarily of a manuscript cash book containing the Birmingham club's accounts with each of its players for the 1926, 1927, 1928, 1929, and 1930 seasons. A few non-player accounts are also present. In addition to this book, the collection includes a few team-related letters, receipts, and other records, originally enclosed in the book and now removed to folders.

Dates

  • 1923-1930

Creator

Language of Materials

English

Restrictions

There are no access restrictions on this collection

Biographical Note

The Birmingham, Alabama, Black Barons were an elite black professional baseball team during the pro game's long era of segregation. They were formed in 1920 by Frank Perdue as a charter member of the Negro Southern League (NSL); most of the players were recruited from local black industrial leagues. In 1924, under the control of new owner Joe Rush, the Black Barons became a full member of Rube Foster's Negro National League (NNL), the premier black league in the Midwest and South. Poor attendence forced the team back to the minor NSL in 1926, but a championship season facilitated their return to the National League in 1927; they remained in the NNL until 1930. During the late 20s the Black Barons featured such solid players as Roy Parnell, George McAllister, Poindexter Williams, Sam Streeter, Bob Poindexter, and Harry Salmon. Their most notable success in the NNL came in 1927, when they won the league's second-half pennant before losing to the first-half champion Chicago American Giants in the playoffs, four games to none. That season, too, the Black Barons acquired 20-year-old future Hall of Famer Leroy "Satchel" Paige, who learned his craft pitching for the club from 1927 to 1930. But even as Paige became a draw at the gate (and a cash cow for owner R. T. Jackson, who rented him out to pitch for other teams) the team struggled on the field. Both the Barons and the NNL suffered from the onset of the Depression. The club sold Paige to the Nashville Elite Giants in 1931 and moved down to the Negro Southern League; the NNL folded at the end of the season. Birmingham enjoyed a second stay in the Negro Majors as a member of the Negro American League, 1937-38 and 1940-50, winning three pennants in the 40s. But the integration of Organized Baseball after 1947 deprived the Negro Leagues of their most talented players and teams and leagues began to disappear. The Black Barons continued playing other surviving Negro Leagues teams until 1960, and carried on as a barnstorming team until ceasing operations in 1963.

Extent

1 volume and 9 folders; (.25 linear feet)

Overview

A collection of records, mostly financial, of the Birmingham (Alabama) Black Barons Negro Leagues professional baseball club. The most significant item in the collection is a manuscript cash book, showing the club's financial accounts with each of its players for the seasons 1926 through 1930.

Arrangement Note

The bound cash book is the first item in the collection; it is followed by various loose records, originally enclosures, chronologically arranged.

Acquisition and Processing Note

The Birmingham Black Baron records were purchased by the Hesburgh Libraries of Notre Dame in 2005 from Between the Covers Rare Books, Inc., Gloucester City, NJ. Arranged and described 2009, by Jacob Baska. Finding aid 2009, by Jacob Baska and George Rugg.
Title
Birmingham Black Barons recordsMSSP 0001
Status
Completed
Author
Jacob Baska
Date
May 2013
Language of description
English

Repository Details

Part of the University of Notre Dame Rare Books & Special Collections Repository

Contact:
102 Hesburgh Library
Notre Dame IN 46556
574-631-0290