In December 2014, Redfield Auctions conducted an on-line auction of property having belonged to the late Glynn West. West was not a famous baseball player, manager, or memorabilia collector. They say he devoted his life to his family and baseball. Once the Oakland A’s offered him the exalted position of General Manager, but he turned it down because he did not want to uproot his family from Birmingham.
He worked at Rickwood Field (America’s oldest baseball park) from 1947 until 1975, during which time he washed clothes, lined the field, changed the scoreboard, and ultimately became the AA Executive of the Year and the Vice President of the Southern League.
Following his recent death, his daughter found many baseball items in his home. Hence this auction. She found many items pertaining to the Birmingham teams over the years including the Negro League players who played for the Birmingham Black Barons. It is said that Glynn West oversaw the desegregation of Rickwood Field.
David Wininger of our law firm bought many of the items during the auction in order to donate them to the Friends of Rickwood Field. It is hoped that a Rickwood/Birmingham baseball museum will be built soon to house these and other items.
Two of the items purchased included a baseball autographed by the famous Joe Sewell, who holds the American League record for fewest strikeouts in a full baseball season. Sewell was a member of the New York Yankees and the baseball park at the University of Alabama is named for him. Another baseball was autographed by several former major leaguers, including Birmingham’s own Ben Chapman, who played at Phillips High School and the University of Alabama before joining the Yankees. These items will add immensely to any collection.