BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — The Negro Baseball Leagues brought us remarkable athleticism and stars like Jackie Robinson and Willie Mays in addition to its contributions to civil rights. Last year was the leagues’ 100th anniversary, and since Birmingham couldn’t celebrate due to the pandemic, the city is hoping to make 101 just as special, if not more.
“The main thing with this milestone has been is that it’s started to provide more attention to Negro League Baseball,” Layton Revel, founder of the Birmingham Southern League Museum, said.
Those at the museum aren’t alone in appreciating the milestone. Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin put out a statement last July commending the leagues’ history.
“Without the history of Negro League Baseball, our city would not be able to celebrate the success of baseball legends such as Satchel Paige, Willie Mays, Bo Jackson and so many more,” the release read.
Mayor Woodfin’s appreciation for the league’s history is echoed throughout the Magic City. The 2021 Birmingham Barons are spending nearly half of their homestead celebrating Negro League Baseball. They honored the league this Wednesday night at Regions Field and have dedicated Friday and Saturday nights’ games to Jackie Robinson and Willie Mays.
“We were not able to host any games, much less salute the Birmingham Black Barons or the Negro Leagues, so this year we have four great days that we’ll be able to celebrate and honor those legends here at Regions Field,” Revel said.