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  • Rickwood Field - Birmingham, AL

    Hey, all.

    The Rickwood Classic will be held this Wednesday at Rickwood Field, the America's oldest ballpark.

    I'm thinking about making the trip and was wondering if any of you have ever been. There doesn't seem to be a thread on here about the park which is shocking. The only thing I found was a post in the Wooden Ballparks thread. Anyway, I'd love to hear some tips or stories if anyone has any. In the meantime, here are some photos from around the web:
















  • #2
    Nice thread JC! Now let's get busy...

    Rickwood Field is located in Birmingham, AL, and both the Birmingham Barons and Birmingham Black Barons were long-time tenants. Both Forbes Field and Shibe Park were used as models for building the new park. Allen Harvey "Rick" Woodward, chairman of a local iron company, purchased the Birmingham Coal Barons team in 1909, and designed and built them a new stadium, and named it after himself. The stands were made of concrete and steel (probably why it still exists today!) and the cupola up top was for the announcer and the press.


    Here's a photo from the Opening Game, Thursday, August 18, 1910. Over 10,000 in the house as the Barons beat the Montgomery Climbers 3-2.

    rickwoodfieldopener08181910.jpg


    Dixie Series game (annual Southern Association champs vs Texas League champs series), October 2, 1929. in 1929, the Barons beat the Dallas Steers 4 games to 2.


    Beautiful 4071x1604 size - a must see!


    Stadium exterior in 1930.

    rickwoodfieldbarons1930.jpeg


    Say Hey Willie! Mays in 1948, as a 17 year old with the Black Barons. How great is this photo!

    maysrickwoodfield1948.jpeg



    Reggie Jackson, 1967.

    reggiejacksonrickwoodfield1967.jpeg



    Nice read on the history and restoration of the park -> https://www.hpef.us/take-me-out-to-the-ballpark
    Last edited by alpineinc; 02-28-2019, 04:42 PM.

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    • #3
      Birmingham Barons pose with their team dog at Rickwood in early 1917.

      ajaxhelper.jpeg


      Black Barons play tonight! Date unknown, but lights were installed in 1936.

      6204793_orig.jpg


      1959

      ajaxhelper-1.jpeg
      Last edited by alpineinc; 06-22-2014, 10:25 AM.

      Showcasing the finest photography to illuminate the lesser known stories from classic baseball. Now over 2000 followers!
      https://twitter.com/behindthebagbtb

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      • #4
        Nice photos!

        Now I'm even more excited about Wednesday!

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        • #5
          I'm glad you started the thread, I was barely aware of this stadium, and with such a rich history. Hopefully we can fill it up with more photos and stories.

          Showcasing the finest photography to illuminate the lesser known stories from classic baseball. Now over 2000 followers!
          https://twitter.com/behindthebagbtb

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          • #6
            Forbes Field of the South. I don't see any Shibe influence. The Shibe connection was probably added later by revisionists.
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            • #7
              Originally posted by Phantom Dreamer View Post
              Forbes Field of the South. I don't see any Shibe influence. The Shibe connection was probably added later by revisionists.
              The story goes that Rickwood contacted Connie Mack for advice, but who knows. The cupola would be a nod to Shibe, although very different from the one in the Philadelphia park.

              Showcasing the finest photography to illuminate the lesser known stories from classic baseball. Now over 2000 followers!
              https://twitter.com/behindthebagbtb

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              • #8
                Originally posted by alpineinc View Post
                I'm glad you started the thread, I was barely aware of this stadium, and with such a rich history. Hopefully we can fill it up with more photos and stories.
                Great pics, especially the '29 Dixie Series panoramic! I'll have to put an edit on it when I get a chance...
                Say hello on Twitter @BSmile & Facebook "Baseball by BSmile"

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by alpineinc View Post
                  The story goes that Rickwood contacted Connie Mack for advice, but who knows. The cupola would be a nod to Shibe, although very different from the one in the Philadelphia park.
                  It's great that it's still in use. It was also a location for 42, I believe.
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                  • #10
                    And "Cobb."

                    It's in my neck of the woods. Wonderful old-school stadium, and yeoman's efforts have been made to restore/preserve/maintain it, an independent group has literally raised and spent millions on the place.

                    The only problem is the neighborhood it's in has become pretty much akin to the neighborhood around the Shibe Park site in Philly, and I'm not using hyperbole there. It's really bad, there is no earthly way a team could play there regularly with any kind of safety for fans. I would be uneasy going there in the daytime in a crowd on an average day, although the Classic is such a big deal that there will be tons of security present so the OP shouldn't feel hesitant checking it out, and there's not enough money in Fort Knox to get me there at night.

                    FYI, Birmingham last year opened an 8,500-seat downtown stadium for the current Barons that has a few Rickwood touches to it, I know there is a thread here that was kind of negative about the plans, but it turned out pretty nice, has gotten good reviews for everything except parking which apparently is about as bad as the old-school downtown stadiums so they certainly captured that bit of flavor LOL!

                    Originally posted by Phantom Dreamer View Post
                    It's great that it's still in use. It was also a location for 42, I believe.
                    Last edited by PRW; 06-23-2014, 07:34 PM.

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                    • #11
                      A few shots from Rickwood Field's twitter





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                      • #12
                        It is a GORGEOUS ball yard.

                        If only it could be picked up and moved somewhere else, intact.

                        FYI, it's not very far as the crow flies, maybe 1.5, 2 miles, from Legion Field, Birmingham's historic football stadium.

                        Originally posted by Phantom Dreamer View Post
                        A few shots from Rickwood Field's twitter





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                        • #13
                          The Rickwood Classic was one of the coolest baseball events that I have ever attended. As much as we talk about the treasures that Wrigley and Fenway are, they have been retouched by million dollar makeovers where Rickwood is very much just hanging on. Sitting in the bleachers, I felt like I was looking out onto a game being played in any of the past one hundred years. There are hints of where modern baseball crept in until the pros left in the late 80's, but just about all of the old ballpark remains and what was modernized was mostly removed for the Rickwood Classic and filming of period films.

                          Anyway, here are a bunch of photos that I took on Wednesday:







                          Nego League players gathered in front of the gates before they opened. They were telling stories and catching up which was a join to eavesdrop on!


                          To the left of the entrance, there is a series of walkways and stairs that lead from the offices up to the rooftop pressbox.


                          Through the gates and to the turnstiles.


                          Is there anything better than that first glimpse of green grass through a ballpark tunnel?


                          Got my scorecard!

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                          • #14






                            The foul pole goes through the roof!


                            The pressbox behind homeplate. Through the window, you can see a member of the press dressed up for the 20's era.


                            I found these walkways behind the seating to be incredible useful as the lower walkways were usually a bit crowded.



                            Here's a look out the outside of the seating where you can see the louvers of the walkway. From this angle, you can definitely see that Forbes Field shape.


                            It doesn't get more bare-bones than this!


                            A look at the seats down the first base line.


                            Ramp leading to the rightfield corner.


                            The seats in the back of the rightfield bleachers are obstructed to say the least!


                            Of course, long ago, this was the home run wall and so seats would not have been obstructed by the home run fence and advertising boards.




                            The back of the wall from outside of the stadium.


                            A long faded warning to those looking to watch some free baseball.


                            The Birmingham skyline and Legion Field.


                            The gap between the wall and the advertisements (which are not in play).

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by JohnCropp View Post
                              The Rickwood Classic was one of the coolest baseball events that I have ever attended. As much as we talk about the treasures that Wrigley and Fenway are, they have been retouched by million dollar makeovers where Rickwood is very much just hanging on. Sitting in the bleachers, I felt like I was looking out onto a game being played in any of the past one hundred years. There are hints of where modern baseball crept in until the pros left in the late 80's, but just about all of the old ballpark remains and what was modernized was mostly removed for the Rickwood Classic and filming of period films...
                              Glad you had a good time.

                              FYI, a private group called the Friends of Rickwood, as I noted in an earlier post, actually has raised and spent about $2 million on the place over the years, so it's not like very strong efforts haven't been made to keep the place up. I know that's a pittance, but if they hadn't been around, the place probably wouldn't be there right now.

                              It does get used more than once a year and for movies, BTW, high school and college teams play there.
                              Last edited by alpineinc; 06-28-2014, 09:54 PM.

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