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Martin Stadium was one of only a few baseball stadiums that exclusively hosted a team from the Negro Major Leagues.Home of the Memphis Red Sox, of the Negro American League, the stadium opened in 1920. Satchel Paige, James "Cool Papa" Bell, and Ted "Double Duty" Radcliffe are just the many baseball greats who played at or managed teams at Martin Stadium. The Memphis Red Sox organization came to an end in 1960 and Martin Stadium was demolished in 1961.


  • Memphis Red Sox Logo
  • Memphis Red Sox Baseball Card
  • Red Sox team picture with a souvenir replica of Martin Stadium
  • Charlie Pride's Red Sox team picture
  • 1946 team picture
  • Players in front of Martin Stadium dugout

    In 1932 the Martin brothers, Dr.'s J.B. and B.B. Martin purchased the Memphis Red Sox.1 The brothers built Martin Stadium for their team, team founder R.S. Lewis Sr. contributed funding.2 The Martin's were the only owners of a Negro League team that also owned their team's stadium.3
     The Red Sox had been an active team in various Negro Leagues since the 1920s. Lewis, a prominent funeral home director, sold his team to the Martins. Stadium capacity was 3,000 people.4 Affiliated with the Negro National League from 1924 to 1930 (except 1926), the Negro Southern League in 1926 and 1932. The team operated as an independent from 1933 to 1936. In 1937 they joined the Negro American League where they remained until 1960.  1938 was the only season that the competed for a championship.5 A stadium owned by blacks, that promoted black athletics, was a unique cultural fixture in any American city much less a major city in the segregated south. 

     Four players associated with the Memphis Red Sox eventually were inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown: Satchel Paige, James "Cool Papa" Bell, Willy Wells, and Turkey Stearns.6 Country singer Charlie Pride was a major league prospect, pitching for the Memphis Red Sox. The Martin's owned the Red Sox until 1960 the stadium was demolished in 1961.7  The documentary "Black Diamonds, Blues City" documents the story of the Memphis Red Sox and the Negro Major Leagues.

1. "Martin Stadium and Red Sox Lure", MLB ProBlog ChirpChatter, May 28, 2009, accessed March 20, 2015, http://chirpchatter.mlblogs.com/tag/nostalgia-night. 

2. "Historic Marker Honors R.S. Lewis & Sons Funeral Home", West Tennessee Historical Society, July 2014, accessed March 20, 2015, http://wths-tn.org/2014/07/16/historic-marker-honors-r-s-lewis-sons-funeral-home.

3. "The Martin Brothers", WKNO FM, April 29, 2014, accessed March 20, 2015, http://wknofm.org/post/martin-brothers. 

4. "Martin Stadium and Red Sox Lure", MiLB ProBlog ChirpChatter. 

5. "Memphis Red Sox", Negro Leagues Baseball Museum, 2006, accessed March 20, 2015, http://coe.k-state.edu/annex/nlbemuseum/history/teams/memphisrsox.html. 

6. "Martin Stadium and Red Sox Lure", MiLB ProBlog ChirpChatter. 

7. Marie Tedesco, "Negro Leagues Baseball", The Tennessee Encyclopedia of History and Culture, December 25, 2009, accessed March 20, 2015, http://tennesseeencyclopedia.net/entry.php?rec=59. 

8. "Black Diamonds Blues City", Humanities Tennessee, accessed March 20, 2015, http://library.la84.org/SportsLibrary/JSH/JSH1998/JSH2502/JSH2502h.pdf.