Among the most long-lived teams in black baseball, the Black Barons had developed during the late 1910s from the robust industrial baseball leagues in Birmingham. Playing first as independents, then as members of the Southern circuit, the team became the first Southern entry in the Negro National League in 1924. In 1937 the club became a charter franchise in the Negro American League.
Featuring such talent as Piper Davis, Ed Steele and Artie Wilson the Black Barons captured Negro National League pennants in 1943, 1944, and 1949. The Black Barons played their home games at Birmingham’s Rickwood Field from 1924 forward, sharing the facility with their white Southern Association counterparts, the Birmingham Barons. When integration came to organized baseball the Black Barons made several contributions of top talent, most notable among them a young Willie Mays.