Satchel Paige, Willie Mays, Hank Aaron — just a few of the great Alabama baseball players who got their start in the Negro Baseball League. The league no longer exists, as they and their successors have competed in the Major Leagues for decades.

A memorial to the old negro league has been crafted by artist Yvonne Wells. It is on display at the Mobile Museum of Art through March 17, 2024. It consists of works of cotton, cotton/polyester blend, burlap, rickrack, plastic buttons, digital and print.

The museum and exhibit are open Tuesdays through Saturdays, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Details and ticket information can be found here.

A talk and demonstrative presentation by Yvonne Wells will be on Thursday, November 30, at 6:30 p.m. at the Mobile Museum of Art. It will be interactive, displaying her work memorializing the Negro Baseball League.

Yvonne Wells Alabama News
Artist Yvonne Wells, creator of “The Great American Pastime: The Negro Baseball League.” Photo: Mobile Museum of Art

The museum said on its Facebook page, "Please join Mobile Museum of Art for a very special gallery talk with Yvonne Wells. Yvonne will discuss her work "The Great American Pastime: The Negro Baseball League" as well as her creative inspirations and process as a quilter. The exhibition runs now until March 17, 2024, and is part of our multi-year exhibition program SPOTLIGHT. This is one in a series of American art exhibitions created through a multi-year, multi-institutional partnership formed by the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art as part of the Art Bridges Cohort Program. Please join us for a fun and informative evening."

Satchel Paige, a pitcher, was born in Mobile and first started playing with the semi-pro Mobile Tigers.

Willie Mays, a centerfielder, was born in Westfield near Fairfield in the Birmingham area. He first played for the Chatanooga Choo Choos while still in Fairfield Industrial High School. He later played for the Birmingham Black Barons.

Hank Aaron, a home run-hitting outfielder, was born in Mobile. He started playing for the semi-pro Mobile Black Bears and the Prichard Athletics. He got a contract with the Negro American League in Indianapolis.

All three were so successful that they got the attention of the Major Leagues, eventually making the Negro League unnecessary.

The Negro Baseball League will be remembered in Wells' talk on November 30 and the museum exhibit at 4850 Museum Drive in Mobile.

More information can be found here.  

Jim Zeigler is a former Alabama Public Service Commissioner and State Auditor. You can reach him for comments at

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