Birmingham Black Barons of 1948
For the third time during the decade, the Black Barons won the Negro American League pennant only to lose the World Series to the Homestead Grays. The 1948 Series was the last one ever played in the Negro Leagues, as the Negro National League folded following the Series. To win the trip this last World Series, the Black Barons had to defeat the Kansas City Monarchs in a close, seven-game play-off for the league title. Manager Piper Davis’ squad showed a balanced mound staff, with Jimmy Newberry, Bill Powell, Jehosie Heard and Alonzo Perry. Davis moved to second base and formed an outstanding doubleplay combination with shortstop Artie Wilson. Davis batted in the cleanup slot and relied on lead-off hitter Wilson and rightfielder Ed Steele to help carry the offensive load. Davis added considerable defense to the team, when he penciled in a new name for the centerfield position–a youngster named Willie Mays.