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Fri, 05.28.1920

The Memphis Red Sox Baseball Team is Formed

*The Memphis Red Sox is celebrated on this date in 1920.  They were a Negro League Baseball team that was active for 40 years.  

In 1921 Memphis had two main Negro baseball clubs, the Memphis Union Giants and the A. P. Martin's Barber Boys Baseball Club. Real estate salesman and bookkeeper Sherman G. King owned the Union Giants. Chick Cummings, a player on the team, managed the Union Giants. The A. P. Martin's Barber Boys, also known as the A. P. Martin's Barber College Team was the creation of a Memphis barber named Arthur Peterson Martin. The team was a way for Martin to promote his two barbershops in Memphis on Main and Beale Street and his barber college.  

Originally named the Barber College Baseball Club, the team was owned and operated by Arthur P. Martin, a local Memphis barber. In the late 1920s, the Martin brothers, all three Memphis doctors and businessmen, purchased the Red Sox. J. B. Martin, W. S. Martin, and B. B. Martin would retain control of the club till its dissolution in 1959. The Red Sox played as members, at various times, of the Negro Southern League, Negro National League, and Negro American League. The team was never a titan of the Negro leagues like wealthier teams in northern cities of the United States. Still, sound management lead to a continuous thirty-nine years of operation, a span that was exceeded by very few other teams.

Following integration, the team had five players that would eventually make Major League Baseball rosters, and two were inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame.   On May 28, 1960, Dr. B.B. Martin announced he was dissolving the Red Sox for financial reasons. “It has been a losing proposition for the past four or five years...,” Dr. Martin said. The Negro American League would continue on for just a couple more years before it dissolved completely.  

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