1961 Birmingham Barons

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1961 Barons scorecard.jpg

The 1961 Birmingham Barons were the last all-white Barons club, and the last of four to play as an affiliate of the Detroit Tigers. The next season, some of the other teams in the Southern Association signed African American players. Since Birmingham's segregation laws would have prevented integrated teams from playing at Rickwood Field, the club was folded until 1964, after the laws were changed. Albert Belcher owned the 1961 club that folded and restarted the Barons three years later.

On the field, the Barons finished second, one game behind the Chattanooga Lookouts in the Southern Association standings. The team's record was 89-63 (.585). They managed 1452 hits in 5241 at-bats for a league-high team batting average of .277 and had 90 home runs, 778 runs batted in, and 172 errors for a .970 fielding percentage. Opening night brought only 1,157 fans to Rickwood, but strong play brought better attendance. Over the course of the season 112,217 people came through the turnstiles, second only to Little Rock in the league.

The Barons' Howie Koplitz was the league's Most Valuable Player and the best pitcher with a 23-3 record and 2.11 earned run average. Stan Palys had the league's third-best batting average at .333. Legrant Scott Jr scored 128 runs on the season to lead the team, and his 123 walks remains a Barons record.

The 1961 Barons were broadcast on WYDE AM 850. Their "exclusive launderers" were Snowhite Laundry. Concession prices included 10 cent soft drinks, peanuts, candy and ice cream, 20 cent hot dogs, and 25 cents for parking.

Roster

The batting order for at least one game against the Lookouts was Scott, McCue, Goldy, Palys, Lumley, Micelotta, Duke, Manning and Gallagher.

Schedule

The 1961 Barons hosted the following home stands at Rickwood Field:

  • Atlanta Crackers: May 15-18, July 7-9, August 25-27
  • Chattanooga Lookouts: April 21-23, June 12-15, August 1-3
  • Little Rock Travelers: April 24-27, June 16-18, August 4-6
  • Macon Peaches: May 19-21, July 12-14, September 1-4
  • Mobile Bears: May 8-11, June 30-July 2, August 18-20
  • Nashville Volunteers: April 11-13, June 1-4, July 21-23
  • Shreveport Sports: May 5-7, June 26-29, August 14-17