April 8, 2020

Spotlight: Barney Brown

South Carolina native Barney Brown was a four-time Negro League All-Star.

South Carolina native Barney Brown was a four-time Negro League All-Star. Born in Hartsville, SC in 1907, the southpaw pitcher and outfielder played professional baseball from 1931 to 1956. The lefty relied on the screwball for his primary pitch. He pitched in the Negro Leagues during the summers and spent his winters playing in the Cuban, Mexican, and Puerto Rican Leagues. Brown earned the nickname “Brinquitos” while playing in the Mexican League.

Brown pitched for the Negro National League Cuban Stars in Cincinnati, OH in 1931 and 1932. While pitching for the New York Black Yankees, Brown earned his first All-Star selection, pitching in the 1937 East-West Game (Negro Leagues All-Star game). He tossed 3 innings for the East team, giving up one run. In 1938, Brown earned another Negro League All-Star appearance for the Black Yankees, tossing 3 shutout innings against the West All-Star team.

While pitching for the Veracruz team in the Mexican League from 1939 to 1941, Brown was teammates with fellow Negro League stars and future Hall of Famers: Cool Papa Bell, Ray Dandridge, Leon Day, Martin Dihigo, Willie Wells and Josh Gibson. He won 16 games in each of the three seasons, leading the league in wins. With the Rojos del Aguila de Veracruz in 1939, Brown went 16-5 with a 2.49. He would go 16-7 for Veracruz in 1940, posting a 4.01 ERA.  And in 1941, he would go 16-5 with a 3.94 ERA. The following fall/winter of 1941/1942, Brown pitched in the Puerto Rican League for the Brujos de Guayama, winning 16 games once again.

Returning to the United States for the 1942 season, Brown joined the Philadelphia Stars of the Negro National League. He won 9 games for the Stars and earned a third trip to the East-West Game. When the United States became involved in World War II, he joined the US Army in 1943 and served until 1945. Brown returned to the mound for Philadelphia in 1945.

In 1946, he went 10-5 with a 2.69 ERA for the Stars and earned his fourth Negro League All-Star selection. He was named the East’s starting pitcher for the first East-West game of 1946 (there were two All-Star games that year). He pitched 3 perfect scoreless innings in the East victory.  Brown also started the second East-West game in 1946, again pitching 3 shutout innings as his East team lost the game in late innings. In the Puerto Rican League, at the end of 1946, Brown led the league in victories, winning 16 once again.

From 1950-1952, Brown pitched for the Algodoneros de Torreon in the Mexican League. Brown moved to Canada during the 1952 season, pitching for the Brandon Greys. He joined the Brantford Red Sox in 1954 and then pitched for the Lloydminster Meridians of the Western Canada Baseball League in 1955 and 1956. After pitching in Canada for five seasons, Brown retired after the 1956 season at age 48.

Brown pitching for the Mexico City Diablos Rojos in the Mexican League in late 1945.

Biographical Encyclopedia of the Negro Baseball Leagues (James Riley)
The Mexican League (Pedro Treto Cisneros)
Western Canada Baseball League (Jay-Dell Mah)

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