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Alabama’s Rickwood Field Will Host an MLB Game in 2024

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Rickwood Field in Birmingham, Ala., believed to be the oldest skilled baseball stadium in the US, has played host to a few of baseball’s biggest luminaries during its 113-year run, including Babe Ruth and Willie Mays, the latter of whom grew up a brief distance from the park.

Next 12 months, the stadium will shine once more when it hosts a Major League Baseball game between the San Francisco Giants and the St. Louis Cardinals. The sport is scheduled for June 20, 2024.

Older than each Fenway Park and Wrigley Field, Rickwood Field opened in 1910 and has been home to several teams over its many many years, including Mays’s Birmingham Black Barons of the Negro American League, and the Birmingham Barons, a minor league team.

M.L.B. announced the sport on Tuesday in its latest effort to showcase regular-season games in unique settings. M.L.B. calls them Specialty Games, and former versions were held at Fort Bragg, N.C.; in Omaha, at the location of the College World Series; and in Williamsport, Pa., the location of the Little League World Series.

M.L.B. has also staged two Field of Dreams games in Dyersville, Iowa, near the filming location for the 1989 baseball-themed movie “Field of Dreams.” The White Sox played the Yankees in Dyersville in 2021, and last season the Chicago Cubs and Cincinnati Reds got a turn within the corn fields. There is no such thing as a Field of Dreams game scheduled in 2023 due to construction at the location.

M.L.B. said that the date of the Rickwood Field game was intended to coincide with Juneteenth and that the sport will feature a wide range of activities to rejoice the history of the Negro leagues and Mays, the sport’s biggest living player.

Mays, 92, went to highschool lower than five miles from Rickwood Field. In 1948, despite being only 17 and still in class, he began his skilled profession with the Black Barons. A 12 months later he signed with the Latest York Giants.

In a press release issued by M.L.B., Mays said: “I can’t imagine it. I never thought I’d see in my lifetime a Major League Baseball game being played on the very field where I played baseball as a teen.”

His statement concluded, “We will’t forget what got us here, and that was the Negro Leagues for thus a lot of us.”

With a seating capability of just about 11,000, Rickwood Field was built by the Birmingham industrialist Harvey Woodward, who was often called Rick, and it was modeled after Forbes Field in Pittsburgh and Shibe Park in Philadelphia. When it opened, on Aug. 18, 1910, businesses in Birmingham were shuttered to rejoice the grand occasion.

In its early years, the park would host exhibition games with teams from the American and National Leagues, including the Yankees, but Rickwood was home to the Barons, a Southern League institution that featured stars like Pie Traynor and Burleigh Grimes. In later years, Bo Jackson played for the Barons at Rickwood, as did Michael Jordan during his 1994 sojourn into baseball.

An awesome deal of essentially the most significant history on the park, nevertheless, got here from the Black Barons, a Negro leagues team that featured stars like Mule Suttles and Satchel Paige, who won more games for Birmingham than he did for some other skilled team.

In 1948, the Black Barons — with Mays in tow — faced the Homestead Grays in the ultimate Negro World Series. While the Grays won that Series, William Greason, who went on to be the primary Black pitcher for the St. Louis Cardinals, picked up Birmingham’s lone victory. Greason, 98, still lives in Birmingham and is the pastor at Bethel Baptist Church, lower than two miles from Rickwood Field.

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