Friday, October 5, 2007

Rickwood Field-Where dreams come true

As always Click on a picture to enlarge it

As we headed out on the road this morning the sky was pretty cloudy and it looked like some darker clouds were moving in on us, for awhile it looked like we might get rained out, but that wasn’t going to stop us because we were going to “RICKWOOD FIELD”. What the heck is Rickwood Field you might ask, well then you don’t love baseball like we do if you have to ask, but since you did I’ll explain.

August 18th 1910 the Birmingham Barons played their first game at Rickwood Field, which makes it the oldest ballpark in the nation, and sort of a Mecca for baseball lovers. Another great thing about this park is that once you get here you find that everything is open, just park the car, grab a walking tour map of the park and have at it.

First read the Historical Marker in front to get some of the history. Willie Mays played here when he was 16 years old.

There were two Teams that played here the White Team known as the Barons and the Black team which was called the Black Barons

After entering the field you pass through the turnstiles, only one original remains and that was moved to the new stadium.

Check out the line up board so you know who’s playing today

Then we got to go out onto the field and wander just about wherever we wanted, this is the view from behind home plate, dead center is 400 feet.

This is a copy of the original scoreboard as you can see Washington is at Detroit.

These billboards were painted during the filming of the movie ‘COBB” when it was filmed here in 1995 to reflect that time period.

View from behind the pitching rubber, and then my moment in history, I’m standing with the Gods of baseball, on this pitching rubber, on this pitchers mound, in this park have stood all the greats that came before me. Satchel Paige, Christy Mathewson, Grover Cleveland Alexander, Dizzy Dean, Burleigh Grimes, Rollie Fingers and a couple hundred more of the all time greats hurlers in baseball. Ty Cobb, Babe Ruth, Shoeless Joe Jackson, Hank Aaron, Willie Mays and thousands of others major leaguers have run these bases.

When this field was first built it had concrete walls in the outfield but since the left field line was 470 feet they had to build the wooden walls in just a little closer so the players would be able to hit a home run.

Another very interesting thing about the ball games here, since both black and white teams played here, when the white team was playing any black fans had to sit in a separate stands that was in right field but not connected to the regular seating area and it was not covered so they were in the sun. But to square things around, when the black team was playing the white fans had to sit in that section if they wanted to watch the game, and since the Black Barons were a better team then the Barons this section was always filled.

The lights were added in 1936 making this one of the first minor league teams to play night games, the original light towers and lights are still used.

For much more information about Rockwood Field check out their web page at

In case you haven’t noticed we love BASEBALL!!!

P.S. When I was walking around the outfield I got carried away and made a mad dash toward the centerfield wall, made a giant leap right at the 400 foot mark and made the game saving catch… God, it was wonderful.

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