Barons Announce 12th Annual Rickwood Classic
BIRMINGHAM, AL – Since 1996 the Birmingham Barons have traveled back to historic Rickwood Field once a year to celebrate Birmingham’s rich baseball past. On Wednesday, May 30th at 12:35pm, the Barons would like to invite everyone to America’s oldest ballpark to celebrate the city’s baseball heritage, as they take on the Jacksonville Suns in the 12th Annual Rickwood Classic presented by State Farm Insurance.
As in past years, the Rickwood Classic will celebrate a particular era of Birmingham’s baseball history. In 2007, the Barons will celebrate their affiliation with the Kansas City A’s organization in 1964 and 1965, which coincides with the first two years of existence for the Southern League. Barons players will don the gold, road uniforms of the 1964 Birmingham Barons. The Jacksonville Suns will wear their uniforms from the 1967 team that featured Hall-of-Fame pitcher Nolan Ryan.
“The Rickwood Classic is a very special game and event for not only Barons fans but baseball fans alike,” said Barons General Manager Jonathan Nelson. “Each year we meet several people who travel across the country to watch our National Pastime in America’s Oldest Ballpark. We are excited to turn back the clock to the 1964 and 1965 Barons teams as we celebrate not only the birth of the Southern League but also the beginning of an incredible affiliation with the Athletics organization.”
Rickwood Field was vacant for two seasons before the Barons were reborn in 1964 in the newly formed Southern League. Rickwood saw stars such as Bert Campaneris, Tony LaRussa, Dave Duncan, Rene and Marcel Lachemann, and manager John McNamara during this time period.
“The Rickwood Classic has played, and continues to play, an invaluable role in the overall restoration and revitalization of Rickwood Field, and we look forward each year to this great community event,” said David Brewer, director of the Friends of Rickwood. “We are, of course, grateful for the continued support of the Birmingham baseball community, as well as that of our partner, the Birmingham Barons organization.”
“The return of baseball to Rickwood in 1964 marked the beginning of a new and exciting period in Birmingham’s rich baseball history, and we are very pleased to have the opportunity this year to celebrate this chapter in Rickwood’s legendary past”
In addition to the excitement surrounding the game, the Barons are pleased to announce that the Rickwood Classic will also host the third annual induction ceremony for the Birmingham Barons Hall of Fame. Past inductee include Willie Mays, A.H. “Rick” Woodward, Lorenzo “Piper” Davis, and Art Clarkson. Inductees will be selected by a panel of voters consisting of Birmingham media members, local baseball historians, as well as current and former Barons executives.
Before the game, the first 1,500 fans through the gates will receive a collectible ‘Alert Orange Baseball’ courtesy of State Farm Insurance.
“State Farm is proud to once again be a sponsor of the Rickwood Classic,” said State Farm Marketing Analyst Cathy Warren. “This historic facility has contributed so much to the City of Birmingham and as a supporter of this event State Farm wants to do the same. We are known as ‘Good Neighbors’ and we trust that our support of the Rickwood Classic will help to demonstrate that commitment to the citizens of Birmingham and to the rich baseball traditions that are unique to our area.”
The ‘Alert Orange Baseball’ was a creation of baseball innovator, Birmingham native, and Athletics owner, Charlie Finley. Finley contended the ball, painted the color of a construction worker’s hat, would be easier for both fans and players to see. Pitchers complained that the ball, used in spring training games, was slippery and hard to grip while hitters couldn’t pick up the spin of the ball without seeing the seams.
Tickets for the 12th Annual Rickwood Classic presented by State Farm Insurance go on sale at the Hoover Met box office on Monday, February 19. Tickets are $9.00 for general admission, and $6.00 for groups of twenty or more. For ticket information, contact the Barons at 205-988-3200 or visit www.barons.com.