Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Brady Ball, NSLM

Much has happened over the past week or so, perhaps the biggest was the promotion of Brent Honeywell to Durham. He had obviously proven himself in double-A but was squeezed by a large contingent of capable arms ahead of him. A couple injuries opened the door for the Biscuits top prospect to move up and its safe to say he won't be back.

That leaves a huge hole in a rotation that was already relying on Mike Franco to carry the ball into the middle innings as a starter. So far he has been excellent but will reach his innings limit mid-season as a starting pitcher.

Rhp Greg Harris
The rotation of Wood, Harris, Chirinos and Franco has also been excellent but needs a fifth name to fill out a series. Brad Schreiber made one spot start, but it is not known if he will continue to start games.

Adding to the Biscuits concerns is the loss of outfielders Cade Gotta and Granden Goetzman to Durham, though one or both may return.

Or they may not, Gotta has been playing often in Durham, getting hits as well as swiping three bags in five games. Goetz has a stolen base and has driven in a few runs in just two game appearances for the Bulls.

But the Biscuits don't worry much about any of that. All they do is win in spite of losing their prospect starting pitcher and both corner outfield starters. Montgomery took the series from the Barons and moved on to first place Jackson with the same results thru the first two contests.

Playing BradyBall the last few years has gotten the Biscuits into consecutive postseasons. This spring the team looks to be a more complete, if untested, unit. It can be easy to point out what the Montgomery team doesn't have, but what it does have is the ability to win games.

Michael Russell
Fewer prospects means the manager can play his guys to win, not just to test out how a player handles adversity for a front office report. Without a big power guy, Brady can flash a steal sign without taking the bat out of the hands of an on-deck hitter.

Bunting, steals, hit and run, run and hit, doing the right things on the base-paths to win ballgames is what Brady has been all about. It really isn't just small ball, but BradyBall for sure.

In Bham last week I was greeted at the game by someone who reads the blog. And he had some awesome Biscuits swag - I saw a pic of his satin jacket with Biscuits logo that he had special-made. So cool, it really popped with color!

I should have asked him to send me a pic and so I am gonna put it out there, if anyone has cool Skitz gear, feel free to send a pic and show it off here!

Ever since our first season Biscuits fans have been outspoken about their fandom, wearing the team colors and sporting Monty the Biscuit has been a source of pride far and near.

Back in April 2004 when the team played its first game this fan, Gabe, had his custom jersey made. I saw him at the Capitol City Classic and grabbed him for a pic of his trend-setting shirt!

I had the pleasure of spending Jackie Robinson Day in Birmingham and got to venture into the Negro Southern League Museum.

It was a busy day there, but it was a very nice experience and they had a ton of great memorabilia and historic commemorative items.

There were guys out front signing giveaway posters, former players of the Bham Industrial League.

The wall of signed baseballs lines the first hallway, giving a look at just a small portion of the players who played the game in the shadow of segregation. Famous names, not famous, new and old, too many to count.

Small enough to be cozy but big enough to not feel cramped, it was a great atmosphere and they took great care in presenting the history of the NSL and Birmingham's baseball heritage.

Some of my fave displays there included old uniforms and equipment, some dating to the 1800s. Obviously some of my favorite things, a worthwhile way to spend an afternoon if you are a fan of antique sports related items, such as this Birmingham Unions jersey.

Several cities were represented from the old NSL, but they are mostly teams in places familiar to area fans. This Huntsville jersey was a classic.

Another, this a Memphis Blue Sox uniform, complete with stirrups and cleats!

Satchel Paige features prominently among the NSLM displays.

The interactive hologram of Satch throwing pitches to you is life size and also real speed. You stand at home plate and choose one of Paige's four offerings, then watch as the hologram winds and throws a ball. A lighted path along the floor shows you how fast the pitch gets to home plate, and kids can spend all day learning to hit the Fadeaway or the Hesitation pitch.

I loved the display of the Satchel Paige All Stars uniform
from his infamous barnstorming days opposing major leaguers like Bob Feller.

Much can be found to enjoy and appreciate at the Negro Southern League Museum, but I did see one omission - Montgomery was not represented.

A design on the floor showed the cities involved in the NSL, but the collection is decidedly Birmingham-centric. Hopefully they branch out to include more of the other cities in the near future!



APRIL 20 1893 
Joe McGinnity is signed to play for the Montgomery Colts by John McCloskey & makes his first start, beating Nashville 10-4 the future Hall of Famer held the opposition to just five hits, literally on the day he stepped off the train in Montgomery.

The man who would later be known as "Iron Man" McGinnity would win his first fifteen professional games in Montgomery, en route to 485 career victories between the majors and minors over twenty-six seasons.

The manager of the 1893 Montgomery club was another Hall of Famer, Fred Clarke, marking the only time Montgomery had two future Hall of Famers on the roster at the same time.

Joe McGinnity was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1946.

APRIL 20 1908 
Nashville and Montgomery battle for 15 innings without a run before darkness ends the contest.

APRIL 20 1920 
"Negro Southern League is Formed - Montgomery Team Will Play Exhibition Game With Crack Indianapolis Club -

The local negro baseball team known as the Grex Sox will open the Negro Southern League season in Montgomery on Friday, April 30, May 1 and 2 with the Birmingham Giants.

The league is composed of eight clubs, Knoxville, Atlanta, Birmingham, Montgomery, Pensacola, New Orleans, and Jacksonville. The opening dates are Birmingham at Montgomery, New Orleans at Pensacola, Knoxville at Nashville, Jacksonville at Atlanta.

President Staples of the local club has gathered together one of the strongest aggregations of ball tossers in the South, having returned from a scouting trip Wednesday with three new pitchers. He assures the public of clean baseball and is out for the first pennant of the new league. No games will be played in any town when a Southern League team is playing.
1920 Montgomery Grey Sox
 On Tuesday, April 20, the Grey Sox will entertain the strong A.B.C. club of Indianapolis, Indiana, the strongest negro club in the country. The game will give the local fans an opportunity of seeing just what kind of club the Grey Sox will be.

The game will be played in Southside Park on South Holt street, just one half block from the car line. The new park has a special grand stand for white patrons."

Former site of Southside Park, bounded by Holt, Travis and Mill streets

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