History of pro baseball in Montgomery written by Pelham man - WSFA.com Montgomery Alabama news.

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History of pro baseball in Montgomery written by Pelham man

(Source: WSFA 12 News) (Source: WSFA 12 News)

College football is number one in Alabama, despite there being a lot of other great sports and athletes in our state. However, it hasn’t always been that way.

More than a century ago when college football was still new, professional baseball was the king of sports in Alabama.

“Montgomery has a lot of history,” said author Clarence Watkins.

Watkins has loved baseball since he was a kid.

“Growing up in Memphis, Tennessee, my grandpa lived with us off and on and he was a huge baseball fan,” he said.

About a decade ago Watkins decided to write a book, which focused on baseball in Birmingham. He wrote another book about baseball in Memphis, and his latest book focuses on Montgomery.

“Montgomery is much different than Birmingham and Memphis in that it has been in seven different leagues," said Watkins. "Thirteen different team names, and in its 125 year history, there were 41 years with no professional baseball here.”

The book uses pictures to weave a tale of baseball just after the Civil War, all the way up to present day with the Montgomery Biscuits.

“There are some pictures of the Montgomery Grey Sox. That’s the Negro League team that was here. It was from like 1920-1950,” he said.

Over the years Montgomery pro-baseball teams have had a variety of nicknames.

“The Bombers, Billikens, Capitals, but Rebels seems to be the most common franchise name,” Watkins said. 

The book profiles a Babe Ruth visit to Montgomery, Hall of Fame coach Casey Stengel, and World Series hero Dusty Rhodes. All of these men were either from Montgomery or played here during their careers.

“The book is not the complete history of Montgomery baseball," said Watkins. "It’s a book that I hope encourages research and hopefully gets more people looking into what I’m talking about.”

"Baseball in Montgomery" just hit store shelves and can be found in major book stores and in the Goat Hill Museum and Store inside the Capital building. Watkins lives in Pelham but plans to be back in Montgomery for the Alabama Book Fair in April.
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