The Southern Association may have been its own worst enemy. Based in the deep south, the Southern Association continued to deny Negro League players onto S.A. rosters, despite the color barrier having been broken in the Major League Baseball a decade earlier. This put a serious mark against the Southern Association from the onset. Despite this, the Southern Association had been one of the premier leagues in the country (many called it the "mother league")… dating all the way back to 1901. Most of the teams in the league had been there since the beginning with very little changeover. Many considered the S.A. to be just under the Triple-A American Association, International League and Pacific Coast Leagues. Still that didn't stop the 4th biggest Minor League organization in the history of baseball from succumbing to the apathy of baseball fans. The Southern Association announced, to everyone's shock, that after playing through every war and tribulation of the United States since the century began, the S.A. was closing its doors forever. Without a league to play in, Hartwell Field went dark for 5 very long years. It wasn't until the 1966 that the Double-A Southern League moved their Birmingham Barons franchise (the Barons were unlike the Bears, picked up immediately upon the demise of the S.A.), to Hartwell Field. The new "Mobile A's" featured many future Superstars and some of the best future MLB managers in the game (who were all still "players" at the time). Among the superstars was 4 time Athletic's All-Star slugger Sal Bando who ripped 12 HR and batted .277. Bando's best season would come in 1969 when he hit 31 HR, 113 RBI and batted .281 for Oakland. Joining Bando was another slugger in future Dodgers superstar Rick Monday. Monday was a 1st round draft pick and hit 23 HR and batted .267 on his way to a 19 year All-Star career. His best season came with Chicago in 1973 when he hit .267 with 26 HR. Randy Schwartz would also hit 22 HR and bat .281 giving this team 2 20+ HR sluggers. Future Kansas City Athletic's Bill Edgerton led the team with a 17-4, 3.66 record but it was the man with the astronomical name who would cause all the stir. Future All-Star Blue Moon Odom was more than impressive with his 12-5, 3.09 record. Odom would have two 15-6 seasons in the Major Leagues as well as a 16-10, 2.45 season with the Oakland A's. Leading this brigade was famed Manager John McNamara. This must have rubbed off on two other players who would all make their marks on the Majors... not as players but as Managers. Rene Lachemann (17 2B, 15 HR, .256) would spend 10 years in the MLB as a manager for the Mariners and Marlins. The big impact however … came from 2B as Tony LaRussa batted .294. While LaRussa was not the best hitter to come out of this ballpark, in many ways he would make this ballpark legendary as he has the best chance to become the one and only Hall of Famer to be produced by Hartwell Field. The Mobile Bears would go all the way to 1st place winning 88 games and taking the Southern League Championship in their very first season. It was the 8th Championship Trophy for Hartwell Field and one that should be held in high regard as it was the only time they were going to get that chance with the Athletics.