Big Brown" began his professional baseball career at the age of 17 with the Birmingham Black Barons in 1919. As a young catcher the heavy-set Brown demonstrated a remarkably strong arm and the ability to handle tempermental pitchers.
With the formation of the Negro National League in 1920 Brown moved to the Chicago American Giants, then to the Pittsburgh Keystones for their single season in the NNL. In 1923 he signed with the Memphis Red Sox, the team with which his name would ultimately become virtually synonymous.
Through the 1920s Brown built a reputation as a solid, durable catcher with exceptional defensive skills. Ted "Double Duty" Radcliffe described Brown as a "bull of a player. He was strong as an ox and could throw bullets to catch stealing baserunners." Although a more than adequate hitter, Brown's fortÒ was his defensive skills.
Throughout the early thirties Brown starred behind the plate with the Chicago American Giants, representing the club in the East-West All-Star game in 1933 and 1934. In 1938 he returned to the Memphis Red Sox earning all-star status four times, 1938-41. His friendly, jovial manner made Brown a favorite among his teammates, and his eagerness to help young players resulted in the development of several young pitching stars for the Red Sox, including southpaw ace, Verdell Mathis.
In the mid-1940s Brown continued with the Red Sox as player-manager until his retirement in 1948. Brown died at his home in Memphis in 1971.