Friday, March 13, 2015

Barons Team Photos 1904-1929

Barons Team Photos

A quick post for my Bham friends - an assortment of Barons team photos thru the 1920s.

1904


1905


1907


1908



1910


1911



1912







1913






1914







1916






1917




1920






1920's - year unknown






1921






1928



1929




edit:
found a few more

1908 Bham Giants


Birmingham Black Barons, 1948 or 1949


Wednesday, March 11, 2015

INDUSTRIALES IN BILOXI, CONFERENCE NOTES

On Conferences & Cuban Teams


BASEBALL CONFERENCE
This past weekend I attended the Southern Association Baseball conference in Birmingham. Held at historic Rickwood Field, the focus of discussion was on the 1800s, specifically the formation of the Southern League. I was a rookie and sat on the edge of my seat, trying to make mental notes of every move the veteran researchers made.

LEAGUE ORIGINS HAVE MGM CONNECTION
The Southern league's first meeting was held in Montgomery but over the course of planning in winter of 1884 to spring 1885, our city's team was left out of the league. Headed by Atlanta journalist and orator Henry Grady, the league was filled out by cities such as Atlanta, Nashville, August, Bham and others. The teams were determined not as much by population as location, according to the featured speakers J.E.B. Stewart and Sean Corcoran, as much as financial stability and recent growth in the host cities.

After their presentations I had a chance to speak with Mrrs Stewart and Corcoran about the league organization and why Montgomery would have been left out. Both agreed with my assertion that a possible reason could be the railroad accessibility. In 1885 railroads were individually owned and making connections from distant cities could be troublesome when putting together a travel schedule for eight teams.

Mr. Stewart also agreed with my suggestion that Montgomery could have been left out of the league due to the philosophical beliefs held by Henry Grady. Grady, who popularized the term "New South" would likely have felt that Montgomery was not representative of the vision he put forward for post-civil war Southern ideals.

Added to those factors, when New Orleans fell out of consideration for a team in the league, Montgomery was no longer a city teams would pass through while en route.

AFTER LUNCH
The second half of the day included lectures on the Negro Southern League, an examination of a day in the life of Rosswood Park in Memphis and a discussion of historic Southern League and Southern Association ballparks. We enjoyed hearing author Bill Plott speak on the Negro leagues and his new book on the Negro Southern league. He may be able to give us some box scores on our Montgomery team!

On display was a fantastic collection of vintage and antique bats, uniforms and equipment, as well as some very nice photographs of southern players from the 1800s. I had a chance to see a couple innings of a collegiate game taking place at Rickwood that day and got to walk around the back of the park to see the old original concrete wall.

It was a good day.



BILOXI UPDATES
A recent note says that if the Biloxi park isn't ready for the start of June, additional games could be played in Huntsville. The chances of Montgomery closing The Joe forever just went up!
I suppose its not out of the realm of possibility that the Biscuits could close one park and open another in the same series. If the Biloxi park opens in the middle of a series, the Skitz could play a couple in Huntsville before the series shifted to Biloxi. Bizarre!

HAVANA INDUSTRIALES TO PLAY IN BILOXI

In the same note it was slipped in that the Biloxi admin was making strides in its months-long effort to bring international baseball to their park.

The Havana Industriales would play at least one game in Biloxi, though not against the Brewers affiliate. A likely opponent would be another international team, possibly Samurai Japan, a team from KBO, China or the Dutch National team. A second Cuban team is another possibility.

The Industriales series would take place this fall. Team officials have already been to Biloxi as part of the negotiations.

Details are sketchy, but the concept is firm - getting such a renowned Cuban team to appear in the USA would be a rare and important step in relationships between the two nations. Not to mention the "very cool" factor!

Friday, February 27, 2015

Shucks Million Dollar Wager

The Biloxi ballpark got bad news at this weeks Biloxi City Council meeting - it will take another million dollars to finish the ballpark. Even then, it may not be finished "on time".

"On time" is in quotes because obviously, its not "on time" enough to start the season. That makes "on time" a nebulous concept, one even Biloxi city and Southern league officials are trying to define. "Game ready" on the playing field doesn't necessarily translate to ready to host a game in front of actual fans. City officials are likely to try to wriggle out of the fines based on the lack of definition of the terms defining the fines for not having a stadium that is "game ready". I expect this could become a litigious issue between city, team and league lawyers.


WHAT DOES A MILLION GET YA THESE DAYS?

So what do the Shuckers get for their million bucks? To start with, probably nothing - as the city probably doesn't have a million to spend.

But IF they did, it would probably go to filling out the seating bowl with amenities like water fountains and handrails. Thats pure speculation, because the article doesn't say what the million dollars is needed for. It could simply be to pay workers overtime. Its shady to think that construction demands a million bucks but city officials wont point out where the money is going.

No Frills for Shuckers in Huntsville
And when? Shuckers officials say April 21st is the day they are shooting for, but obviously they won't make it. Already Huntsville has been told it will host two weeks worth of games and another five games will be played in Pearl, Miss. June 6th is the projected home opener according to the Southern league but even that is questionable.



TENSION IN TWO CITIES ABOUT ONE TEAM

Fans in Huntsville seem torn between boycotting the team and going to the games just long enough to Boo when the Shuckers are announced. Hville officials imply a bare bones field and minimum attention to what the team needs to play its games. 

Its not known if the million dollars would guarantee a mid June opening day or not. City Councilman Lawrence said he would rather see the city pay the $1mil to prepare the stadium than give $10k a game in fines.

Even if the city had to pay a fine for every game of the season, it would be less than a million dollars - so fans wait to see what the outcome will be.



Monday, February 23, 2015

Schedule Me 2015!

Taking a look at the 2015 Biscuits schedule....
Download the entire Southern league schedule here

Home games in BOLD


April 9-13 vs Chattanooga
April 15-19 @Jacksonville
April 20-24 vs Mobile
April 25-29 vs Jackson

April 30-May 4 @MissBraves
May 6-10 vs Bham May 9 autograph day
May 11-15 @TennSmokies, doubleheader/day off
May 16-20 @Chattanooga
May 21-25 vs TennSmokies
May 26 rickwood classic - not a Biscuits game, but a date to remember!
May 26-30 @Jackson

June 1-5 @Jacksonville
June 6-10 vs MissBraves June 6th is Desmond Jennings Bobblehead night!
June 11-15 vs Pensacoloa June 15th day game, the sunburn special
June 17 - 21 @Biloxi

END OF FIRST HALF OF SEASON

June 22-24 ALLSTAR BREAK

June 25-29 vs Chattanooga June 27th is Back to the Future Night!

July 1-3 @TennSmokies
July 4-8 vs Biloxi
July 9-13 @Pensacola
July 15-19 vs TennSmokies July 18th is Star Wars night!
July 20-21 @Chattanooga - TWO GAME SERIES
July 22-26 @Jackson
July 28-August 1 vs TennSmokies

August 2-6 @MsBraves
August 7-11 vs Jacksonville August 7th is AUM giveaway night
August 13-17 @Bham
August 18-22 @TennSmokies
August 23-27 vs Jackson
August 28-Sept 1 @Mobile
Sept 3-7 vs Bham Sept 4th is Charities Night w/Jersey Auction



APRIL MEANS OPENING DAY
This is a great schedule for baseball fans in Montgomery. The first month of the season gets a late start, opening on April 9th. It means we get September Biscuits at the end of the season and the Southern League playoffs will extend almost to October.

Home series show the logo on left, road series have bus logo on right!


FIRST SERIES, WELCOME LOOKOUTS

The Biscuits welcome the Chattanooga Lookouts, their rookie manager and crop of top prospects sent by the new affiliate Minnesota Twins.

Manager Doug Mientkiewicz caught the out the ended the Curse of the Bambino and won a gold medal as a baseball olympian. His club is loaded with top prospects, including #1 MLB Prospect Byron Buxton. The new-look Lookouts will wear the same uniforms as last year, but the roster will be much changed from the past. A lot of talent will be on the field getting its first look at double-A for the Chattanooga team.

ROAD TRIP!
We take our first road trip on April 15 to Jacksonville, getting the Suns for five games before coming home to the first ten-game homestand of the season. The Biscuits enjoy home cookin in April as they host first Mobile and then Jackson in back-to-back series.


TEN GAME HOMESTAND

Ten game homestands are great in April before the summer heat becomes unbearable, and the Mobile BayBears bring another former MLB player turned manager in Rob Hammock.

Hammock caught Randy Johnsons perfect game during his stint with the DBacks, parent club of the BayBears.

An array of top prospect pitchers pepper the Mobile staff.


GENERALS ARRIVE
The second half of this homestand will see the Jackson Generals in the visitors dugout on May 25. The Generals field staff remains mostly the same as last year, Jim Horner as skipper and Lance Painter the pitching coach.

This five game series features four different start times!
6:35 Saturday, 2:05 Sunday, 7:05 Monday & Tuesday, 10:35am Wednesday.

New Generals hitting coach Roy Howell is a former big leaguer, he was a 1st round pick in 1972 by the Rangers. He made the majors with Texas in '74 and played for them through 1977 when he was dealt to Toronto. Howell holds the BlueJays record for most RBI in a game with 9, appeared in the 1978 AllStar Game and during his playing days his agent was former Montgomery Rebel slugger George Kalafatis.

And so ends April.
On the last day of the month the Biscuits will board the bus for Pearl to face the Ms.Braves. May begins on the road, setting the tone for a month of living out of suitcases. After five on the road and a day off, the Skitz return to the oven for the first home series of the month, and its a big one.


BARONS VISIT SKITZ
Its a divisional rivalry again, though the Bham-Montgomery matchup on the diamond always has a rivalry feel. The Barons come to town on May 6th for five matches.

Julio Vinas returns as manager for the WhiteSox affiliate Barons, as does pitching coach Britt Burns. Hitting coach Jamey Dismukes was a coach for the Lookouts from 2004-08 and returns to the SL with Bham. White Sox #2 prospect Tim Anderson is likely to be the main man for the Barons.

HEADED NORTH FOR TEN
The first ten game Biscuit road trip begins on May 11th with a visit to Tennesse to face the Smokies and the Lookouts.

CUBS HAVE SURPRISE IN STORE FOR GRAPE JELLY SERIES
Battle of teams that taste good with jelly has schedule intrigue!

The Cubs affiliate has a surprise on the schedule. On Tuesday May 12th the teams have a doubleheader planned, followed by a day off, then the remaining three games over the next three days as usual. Its rare to see a scheduled doubleheader, even more so to see it on a Tuesday!

After the Smokies series the Skitz head to Chattanooga for five games. This is a big road trip, ten games of divisional play at the heart of the first half of the season. A bad trip could sink first half pennant hopes, a good trip would help punch an early playoff ticket.

HOMECOOKED SKITZ CONTINUE GRAPE JELLY SERIES

Homestanding again on May 21st, the Skitz welcome the Smokies. Yes, just one series removed from the matchup in Tn, Montgomery faces the Cubs affiliate for another series.

Its the first look at the Smokies for Skitz fans, but we will see them twice more before the summer ends. The Cubs top five prospects have come and gone thru Smokies teams, but there are three top ten guys who could inhabit the roster this year.

This series also features four different start times in five days, 7:05 Thu & Fri tapers quickly to 6:35 Saturday, 5:35 Sunday and 12:05 Monday.


HIT THE ROAD
Another ten-game road trip finishes the merry, merry month of May and turns the page into June. Five games in Jackson Tenn. vs the Generals, a day off to travel and then five games in Jacksonville, Florida against the Suns.


ENGAGE THE FUN METER
Then it gets fun.
Maybe REALLY fun.
The Biscuits June party begins on Saturday, June 6th as the Mississippi Braves arrive for their sole visit to Montgomery.


CIRCLE WAGONS AS BRAVES ARRIVE

The Braves series is always a big hit for local fans who are loyal citizens of Braves Country - it will be interesting to see how they turn out after the recent changes at the major league level.

The brain trust of Holman-Ingram-Llewallyn return to coach the Braves, yet their roster of players is more of a hazy guess at this point.


WAHOOS IN TOWN
The ten-game summertime rollercoaster June continues with the arrival of Pensacola's Blue Wahoos on June 11th.

The Wahoos also only make one visit to Montgomery, the Cincinnati affiliate roster isn't set yet, they bring new manager Pat Kelly.

Kelly, the former NYYankee infielder, is also the general manager for the Australian Baseball team Brisbane Bandits. His coaches include MLB veterans Jeff Fassero and Alex Palaez.

The Wahoos series is another set of four different start times in five days, Thu-Fri have 7:05 starts, Saturday 6:05. Sunday 5:35, Monday 12:05 for the Sunburn Special.


The five game series is followed by an off day for the Biscuits. Teams have five days off in the month of June, all after the middle of the month.


WEIRDNESS COULD HAPPEN HERE
June 17th
This is on the schedule as a five game road trip to Biloxi.

It could happen as scheduled, recently Biloxi officials said they hoped to open their park in the first ten days of June instead of the original projection of late July. That would mean the Biscuits would get a look at the newest field in the league. Recently league Prexie Webb said we would know more by mid-March and that we should expect the park to open at some point in June.

It could also happen that we would play the team in Huntsville, though only the first 15 home games for Biloxi have been moved at this point. If so, it would be the last time Montgomery played at The Joe, and could even be the last games hosted in Huntsville.

It could be that we would host the Shuckers, though we won't swap home series with them as that would cause us to lose our July 4th game. However we might offer to host a few games of the series as the paint dries in Biloxi.

Hosting the Shuckers for this June series would mean the Biscuits spend all but five days of the month at home, add to that hosting the AllStar game in the middle. Even if they play away vs the Biloxi Brewers, the Skitz enjoy home cooking for most of the month.

ALL STAR GAME
In case you didnt hear, Montgomery hosts the All Star Game this year, along with the Home Run Derby. Should be fun, quite a treat for fans!

LOOKOUTS AGAIN

A five game set at home following the All Star break should be a nice way to sneak back into the regular schedule.
The divisional matchup could be against a tough team, and the last time we would see the Chattanooga team during the regular season. Its always odd to close a season series against a team in June, particularly a division foe, but other than a quirky two-game series at the Lookouts park the two don't face off again.

REST UP, THEN HEAD OUT
Then the Biscuits get a day off!

Yes, the last day of June is an off day before they board the bus to play a short, three-game series in TN vs the Smokies to open the month of July in another battle of the Grape Jelly Series.


HOME FOR THE 4th
Then its more home cooking, Biscuits coming home to host the Biloxi Shuckers starting on the 4th of July. Its the usual five game series, getting teams back on a regular schedule after the holiday, for now.

Shuckers arrive
The Shuckers will be an interesting team to watch, though we are only scheduled to meet them this once. The coaching staff is the same as last years double-A Brewers affiliate. Carlos Subero at the helm, Chris Hook the pitching coach and Sandy Guerrero as hitting coach. Top Milwaukee prospect Tyrone Taylor is likely to be the big name to watch among the first-season Shuckers.


HEAD OUT ON THE HIGHWAY
July 9th the Biscuits are finally back on the road, a five game set facing the Blue Wahoos in Pensacola, followed by a day off. A non-divisional matchup with the Cinci affiliate makes for a nice weekend series


 GRAPE JELLY AGAIN!
July 15th brings the Biscuits home to Montgomery to host a five game series against the Smokies. This is the second pass through for the Cubs double-A team, and it won't be the last.



MORE WEIRDNESS HERE
July 20th begins another schedule oddity, as the Biscuits return to Tennessee for just a pair of games against the Chattanooga Lookouts. After the game on Tuesday, July 21st the team rides to Jackson Tn to face the Generals for five games. The unusual seven game road trip culminates in an off day on Monday.


GREAT GRAPE JELLY SERIES CONTINUES

Beginning Tuesday July 28th the Biscuits play host to the Smokies.

Yes, back to back home series against the same team. It could be huge, if the Biscuits want to win in the second half, beating divisional opponents at home would be a good way to do it. On the other side, if we stink we have to see the same teams beat our brains out over and over and over again.

BISCUIT BUS TO BRAVES BALLPARK
Late July becomes early August and on the second day of the month the Biscuits are visiting the Mississippi Braves, from August 2nd-6th.


SKITZ RETURN TO FACE SUNS

Jacksonville faces the Biscuits at Riverwalk on August 7th, opening a five game series. The Skitz only play 11 home games in the month of August. After the August 11 game vs the Suns, Montgomery wont host another team from the South Division.


TEN ON THE ROAD
The last off day of the regular season is Wednesday, August 12th. The next day starts the Skitz biggest road trip of the second half, perhaps of the season begins with the Barons in Bham. A five game set that usually has the team traveling every day from Montgomery to the Barons facility begins on August 13th.

MORE GRAPE JELLY IN TN
After five commuted games the Biscuit bus is headed north to face the Smokies on August 18th. Yes, the Smokies were just in Montgomery two weeks ago, but this five game series is the last time the two teams meet in the regular season.


SKITZ COME HOME VS JAXGENS

August 23rd is a Sunday, and the Jackson Generals visit the Biscuits for five games. Its the only time in the second half the Biscuits host the Generals, and the first time since April that Montgomery fans will see the Mariners affiliate.


LAST ROAD TRIP

Barring playoffs, the last trip of the Biscuits bus will be to Mobile as the Skitz face the BayBears. The weekend series starts on Saturday, August 28th and runs thru September 1st.

LAST HOMESTAND

The Biscuits get a day off and prepare for the last series of the regular season, a five game tilt against rival Birmingham starting Thursday, September 3rd. The game time on Saturdays game is TBD, likely waiting to see how the Alabama-Wisconsin and Auburn-Louisville football games will be scheduled.

The final game is scheduled for 12:05, a terrible idea if the team should still have playoff hopes alive on the last day of the year.

PLAYOFF TIME
Then, hopefully, we get to hose some playoff games which would start on September 9th or 10th for the SLDS. Following that the SLCS would begin around the 15th.