Rickwood Field Today

Today, Rickwood Field is being restored to the dazzling diamond of its early days. But, more than just preserving an historic structure, we are creating a place to relive the magic of baseball’s glory years. Why bother? Read the papers. Watch the news of the game. Find, if you can, the passion of the game America fell in love with a long time ago. With each of the old grandstands that fell, it seems, we lost more than just an old structure. We lost a bit of romance, a bit of all that is truly good about America.

And, so, for those hopeless romantics who are still in love but a little disenchanted with the game, we are preserving Rickwood Field. Our dream is for rickwood Field to be a working museum, a place to actually see and experience baseball as it once was.

Today, walking through these gates is like stepping back in time. Rickwood doesn’t just look like a park from years ago. The entire park and everyone in it seems to live and breathe the sensation of another day and time. Teams are playing again on this gem of a diamond, but the players are in the jaunty uniforms of years ago. The drop-in scoreboard is back, alive with the excitement of the two privileged youngsters busily tending it. The vintage signs in the outfield are back. The gazebo-style press box is back, inspired by the original 1910 blueprints. In fact, many of the photos you see in this page are not old photos, but snapshots of the way we like to play baseball today at Rickwood Field. In a world that more and more steals the joy of life’s simple pleasures, we’re working to create a place that brings it all home.

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18 Responses to “Rickwood Field Today”

  1. I visit Rickwood every time I come home to Alabama. My Grandfather played for the Barons in the 40’s for a short time. I love this field and the history behind it. It is the most beautiful place on earth. It makes me so happy that Rickwood is still here and that 4 generations of my family have been able to experience it.

  2. Rickwood is one of my favorite pieces of nostalgia. I attended my first game there as a child and now looking forward to taking my sons to a game there. I try to stop by anytime I’m in Birmingham. Keep of the good work and thank you for preserving such rich history and wonderful memories.

  3. My mother grew up in Birmingham during the 20’s and 30’s attending games at Rickwood field with her father. When I was growing up she always told me about those days. Those special memories of Rickwood Field and the Birmingham Barons. Recently after picking up my son at the University of Alabama we stopped by to see the field I had heard so much about. It was in a word, “fantastic”. The advertisements on the outfield wall, the scoreboard, the light poles, the grandstands and and the beautifully manicured grass brought back memories of the game I knew as a kid. When both the players and the parks had personalities. I fell in love with Rickwood Field and can’t wait to visit it again. To see a ball game there with players in “throw back” uniforms would be amazing.

  4. Thank you, Scott, for your interest in Rickwood Field, and we are extremely pleased that you had the time to visit the park. Rickwood is indeed a magical place, and we look forward to your return. The upcoming Rickwood Classic, Wednesday, May 28, will be a terrific opportunity to catch a game, complete with vintage uniforms and the personality and excitement of the old days.

    Thank you again.

  5. I recently had the priveledge to coach my son’s baseball team against the Alabama Baseball Federation team in a game that we played at Rickwood Field. The field is in excellent shape and it was a very emotional experience for me. It is truly a treasure to have such a field in the heart of Alabama. If you have ever played the game or just love the game of baseball this place will bring chills to your spine and a tear to your eye just to walk across the infield where some of the greatest to ever play the game have played. The names like Willie Mays, Ty Cobb, Reggie Jackson, Dizzy Dean, Satchel Paige and the list goes on forever. I PRAY that this field is NEVER demolished.

  6. I a baseball ethusiast thought rickwood was a gem but also a diamond in the rough. Have visited Fenway and Wrigley rickwood is in a league of its own and should not be forgoten. Its a shame it doesnt have an active team playing day in and day out during the summer. I visit rickwood every time i come back to birmingham and i love the atmosphere of this classic ballpark and the history that it holds. Its truely a time capsul of what brought all of us to love and be in a romance with baseball. Walking into those gates and seing the field of dreams that many greats once walked onto beginning there great careers is truely remarkable.

  7. Thank you Daelen, for your comments. We too think Rickwood is a one-of-a-kind treasure. We also certainly consider it to be both a cultural and an economic asset for our community.

  8. I remember playing at Rickwood in the Sun Belt Conference tournament in 1981. I was a pitcher for South Alabama and in right field was the bullpen. There is a ladder to climb up to a platform and you could sit and watch the game leaning over the wooden fence. A very nostalgic place; reminds me of my hometown Tiger Stadium in Detroit which is almost completetly gone now. I hope Rickwood Field will always be there for the young and old to admire. Sorta like Birminghams own “Field of Dreams.”

  9. I found Rickwood for the first time this past Monday while visiting Alabama, and am simply blown away by the purity and simplicity of the place. It’s like stepping back in time, and not really so much because of the “nostalgic” signs in the outfield or the scoreboard. No, what makes it so pleasing to me is the absence of any advertising — modern or otherwise — in the entryway. Just the painted words “Refreshments” and “Souvenirs” above the service windows, and the minimalist messages on doors and along the infield walls. Less is truly more. I roamed around the park with my camera for over an hour, free to follow the light and the shadows, and took some of the best images I’ve ever taken. Thanks, Rickwood, and thanks, Birmingham, for getting this place right. What a gem!

  10. Thanks Scott, and we look forward to your next visit.

  11. I look forward to seeing the up-coming games scheduled in May and to experience the historical ambiance you’ve worked so hard to preserve. I do disagree with the initial commentary on “Rickwood Field Today.” I believe what is “truly good about America” transcends any demolished structure.. keeping restoration alive and well – likewise with true love and romance.

  12. I saw my first baseball (professional) game at Rickwood Field. It featured Denny McLain’s 1st (maybe only?) start for the Birmingham A’s. Now I live in Detroit, MI and have MET Denny McLain (before he got in deep trouble). I’ve also acquired a Birmingham Black Baron’s hat (at the annual Negro League Tribute Night at Comerica Park). Thanks for keeping the memories alive. Hopefully they will do the same for Tigers Stadium before it’s too late.

  13. It’s been years and years since I’ve visited Birmingham, and there’s just no place like Birmingham, period. Funny how it is, after so many years of absence, that a mere visit to a ballpark could still sustain a nostalgia of feelings that are as closely described here, by the boss: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dcya8uKNWn4
    What can I say… what a ballpark.

  14. Interesting, isn’t it, how a mere ballpark can illuminate the greatness of an era and keep it so alive still within this tangible relic as this that you’ve worked so hard to sustain. Hats off to you. But, what is it that musters determination to preserve our past – a landmark such as this ballpark? Maybe the drive is of need for anticipated victories. Or, maybe the park’s lure is that it conjures some priceless personal memory. Maybe what draws us is of the escape it provides us with from life’s betrayals and deceptions. (Those belabored truths of masked stratagems that leave the human heart pillaged.) Rather, one can sit in the bleachers of this stadium and escape into an ambiance of hope-filled victories, of which energies do not betray. Nevertheless, refreshing it is to experience such an authentic historical baronage. Being from out of state and living away from Birmingham for so many years as I have now, friends ask me what it is that prompted me to make trips back there “just for THAT ballpark.” (I do spare them the “theoretics.” It would just get lost in translation anyway.) Instead, I answer them that it was just a simple twist of fate.

  15. I visited Rickwood Filed on Sunday, October 25, 2009 on my way home from the Alabama.Tennessee foodball game. I have my two grandsons, ages 9 and 11, with me. The park was locked up but I walked around and took lots of pictures. I have so many wonderful memories from my boyhood days in the 1950’s at Rickwood. I saw my first game on April 2, 1955 when the Barons played the NY Yankees in an exhibition game. My home then was in Muscle Shoals and I came down often, by myself, to see the Barons. I would hitch hike down and stay with anuncle in Bessemer. I had not seen Rickwood since the early 1960’s and it looked wonderful! I look forward to coming back to seeing a baseball game there again.

  16. Great memories of summer nights there.I grew up in B’ham in the 50’s and saw lots of games at Rickwood. My friend was batboy for the Barons in ’58 when they won the Southern League title. I’m looking forward to the classic this year (Wish they would reopen the old “Dugout” tavern. A great place to grab a cold one.)

    Bob M.

  17. Great times in this ballpark. B’Ham city schools where allowed to play here during my time in high school. Parker High School,(my school) captured two city titles on this hallowed diamond. I will always have those memories of playing at this ballpark!!!

    Jody C.

  18. Played in the East & West Baseball game when in High School in 1952. Been to many Baron games over those years with my Mom and Dad. Saw Ted Williams hit a homer over the Center Field wall in an exhibition game. Great memories. Walt Dropo, Seb Eaton, Barons greats……Tried out with the Yankees when Birmingham was their Farm Club and Milt Graff was the second baseman for the Barons. Lot’s of memories. Guy Y

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