August 20, 2004

AUGUST 20, 2004 - Negro Leagues player Pat Patterson dies.

Longtime Mobile resident was a recognized star of the baseball organization Willie Lee Patterson Jr., who played first and third base and catcher on a number baseball teams in the Negro Leagues, died Friday in Mobile at the age of 85. Patterson, also known as "Pat" and "Birmingham," was a native of Americus, Ga., and was raised in Birmingham.

He was a resident of Mobile since 1957. He was baptized at Bethel Missionary Baptist Church in Birmingham. His baseball career lasted 11 seasons. During that time, he played for such teams as the Birmingham Black Barons, the Memphis Red Sox, the Chicago American Giants, the Philadelphia Stars and the New York Cubans, according to the Negro League Baseball Players Association.

Patterson also was a starting first baseman in the East-West All-Star games in 1952 and 1953, according to relatives. After retiring from baseball, he worked in Mobile as a longshoreman with the International Longshoremen's Union No. 1410, retiring in 1981. Even though he was retired from baseball, he remained affiliated with the Negro Leagues Baseball Organization and took part in a number of tours and autograph-signing events.

He was inducted in the Milwaukee County Stadium's Negro League Wall of Fame in Wisconsin. Patterson was also featured on a Negro Leagues Baseball Living Legends trading card. In addition to baseball, Patterson had a love for checkers and dominoes, and was once named heavyweight champion of checkers in Alabama at an annual competition in Tuskegee, according to relatives.

Survivors include his wife, Virginia Patterson of Mobile; four daughters, Tammy Patterson, Tina Patterson and Cherise Tunstall, all of Mobile, and Pamela Patterson of Grand Rapids, Mich.; four sons, Arthur Patterson, Willie Patterson III, James Jordan and McKinley Patterson, all of Mobile; 20 grandchildren; and five great-grandchildren.

The funeral is scheduled for 11 a.m. Wednesday at Azalea Bay Area Funeral Services, 352 State St. in Mobile. Another funeral service is set for 11 a.m. Saturday at Bethel Missionary Baptist Church in Birmingham. Burial will take place in Elmwood Cemetery on Martin Luther King Jr. Drive in Birmingham.