Saturday, November 19, 2011

Uniform Redux: Birmingham Black Barons

It has been some time since I have posted something connected to my Negro League Uniform Redux Project. Since July, I have been working on a couple of baseball uniform templates. Each of these player models was made from an image I made while shooting a college, minor league, or major league game.

I like this new template a lot better than the original one I started this project with. I think I may go back and revisit the previous teams using this home/away/alternate concept.

The Black Barons formed the cornerstone of professional Negro baseball in the South for more than 30 years. Arising from Birmingham's active industrial leagues, in 1920 the club became a charter franchise in the Negro South League. Through its long history the club was at various times associated with the Negro Southern League, Negro National League and Negro American League.
The team's heyday came in the 1940s when, as members of the Negro American League, the Black Barons fielded exceptionally strong teams featuring such stars as Piper Davis, Lester Lockett, Artie Wilson and Ed Steele.
In 1943, 1944, and 1947 these strong squads captured the league title. However, none of these pennants led to a Negro World Championship crown as the club fell to the powerful Homestead Grays in each series.
It would be strange for me to talk about the Birmingham Black Barons without mentioning Willie Mays:
Born May 6, 1931, Westfield, Ala., both Mays' father and grandfather had been baseball players. Willie, who batted and fielded right-handed, played semiprofessional baseball when he was 16 years old and joined the Birmingham Black Barons of the Negro National League in 1948, playing only on Sunday during the school year.
The National League New York Giants paid the Barons for his contract when he graduated from Fairfield Industrial High School in 1950. After two seasons in the minor leagues, Mays went to the Giants in 1951.


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