As a follow up to yesterday’s post, I thought I would share a few more photos of Rickwood Field and the 2016 Rickwood Classic.
Before we get started, I want to give a shout out to the book by Clarence Watkins, “Baseball in Birmingham” for the historic photos. All are duly credited, and I highly recommend this great book. It’s available at Amazon and can be found here.
A little more history on Rickwood. Built in 1910 at a cost of $75,000 (just over $1.9 million in today’s dollars), it was modeled after Shibe Park in Philadelphia, and Forbes Field in Pittsburgh. An interesting connection is that the Philadelphia A’s played in Shibe Park (later named Connie Mack Stadium), and the Barons (then the A’s) were a farm team of the Athletics (both the Kansas City and Oakland varieties) from 1964-1975.
The stadium looks very similar to the way it looked back in 1928.
Notice the old scoreboard in the above photo. Here’s a closer look at the current scoreboard. As I pointed out yesterday, notice the original 16 teams of MLB on the board.
This is the cover of the opening day program from August 18, 1910
In addition to being the home of the Barons and Black Barons, Rickwood was also home to the Alabama Crimson Tide’s Birmingham home dates from from 1912-1927. Here’s a photo of an early Bama game before Legion Field opened.
Lights were added to Rickwood Field in 1936. I found this photo an interesting from an architectural standpoint, showing the old beam construction of the stadium silhouetted in front of the light structures.
A couple more shots of old Negro League players signing autographs for fans. The Negro Southern League Museum is located in Birmingham, and hosts artifacts such as Satchel Paige’s game worn uniform, Willie Wells game uniform, Bullet Joe Rogan’s pitching jackate, and 1500 original single signed baseballs. While I didn’t get a chance to visit the museum, it’s on my list of places to visit next time I am in town. For more information, visit the museum’s website.
As for the game, the Barons came up on the short end of the stick, falling 7-4 to the Chattanooga Lookouts. They fell behind 4-0 in the the top of the fourth, but came back with a run in the bottom of the frame to cut the lead to 4-1. A Barons solo shot in the seventh cut the lead to 4-2, but the Barons didn’t get a shut down inning in the eighth, with the Lookouts adding a pair of runs in the top of the inning to go up 6-2. The Barons battled back, plating 2 more runs in the bottom of the eighth to narrow the gap to 6-4, but the Lookouts added another run in the ninth to close out the scoring with a final of 7-4 in favor of the visitors. Hopefully my next trip to the steel city of the south will include a game at Regions Field. Maybe I’ll ask for a press pass to get some really cool shots then!