Meet the Players :: Carl Holden

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Name: Carl Holden
DOB: August 22, 1941
Birthplace: Madison, Alabama
Birmingham Black Barons 1960

Position: catcher/first base Bats: right Throws: right

Carl Holden was born in Madison Alabama in 1941. His parents, Mattie and Thorton, raised him along side three brothers and five sisters. Mattie was a housewife and offered maid services outside the home. Thorton worked in the trucking and transport business before becoming a minister. Carl attended West Huntsville Elementary School, and played baseball with his friends on school grounds. In 1953 he attended West Huntsville Jr. High and began playing sand lot ball with the Huntsville Giants where he learned the fundamentals of baseball, playing both infield and outfield. He continued his studies at William H. Council High School and played ball for the Rocket City Dodgers where he continued to sharpen his fielding abilities. In 1958 Carl would leave the Dodgers to become a Huntsville Hawk where he took a position behind the plate as the Hawks catcher.

In 1959, Carl arrived on the campus of Alabama's A&M University. He played football under the direction of coach G.H. Hobson. His football career was short lived after sustaining a sidelining knee injury.

In the spring of 1960 Carl was invited to the Baltimore Orioles training Camp in Thomasville, Georgia by their chief scout, Fred Hoffman. He worked hard and survived several weeks before his injured knee would catch up to him. He was unable to continue to play and was released. He returned home to pursue an intense work out and training program. He left A&M University and finished his schooling at Drake College.

That same year Carl met Mr. R.E. Nelms, a promoter and local businessman who arranged for Carl to try out with the Birmingham Black Barons. Before he knew it he was on the roster and was playing catcher for the Barons in their 1960 season.

In 1961 Carl returned to Huntsville and found a spot on the roster of the Hawks for two seasons. By now, Negro Leagues Baseball consisted of only four teams and had begun to fade. In 1963, the American Legion Post 351 had sponsored a semi-pro baseball team in Huntsville, Alabama. Carl's experience and athletic abilities landed him the role of team captain. He played for this team from 1963 to 1968 covering the infield, outfield and spent some time opposite the mound as well. The team garnished an eighty percent win rate and captured some tournament victories and league championships along the way. Carl's experience and dedication played a big part of the team's success.

After his baseball career ended, Carl went to work for the federal government and worked in civil service for 10 years. Later he established a small business and has been successful in that endeavor for over twenty-seven years.

Carl and his wife Hattie have two children and two grandchildren. He is an active member of his church and his favorite past time is spending time with his family.

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