Take me out to the ballgame, as the old song goes. The Birmingham Barons return to their historic home, Rickwood Field, on May 30 for the 22nd annual Rickwood Classic. Featuring the Barons versus the Chattanooga Lookouts, the gates open at 11 a.m. and the first pitch is at 12:30 p.m. You can get tickets here.
1. It’s going to be a rainy week, folks, but that’s why ballparks use tarps.
Thanks to subtropical storm Alberto, rainy days are ahead for the Magic City. The Birmingham Barons placed tarps on the field to keep it dry, and the Rickwood Classic is still on. Keep abreast of weather announcements pertaining to the game by following the Birmingham Barons on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram .
2. Birmingham’s Rickwood Field beats out some heavy hitters for the distinction of America’s oldest in-use ballpark.
Built in 1910 for the Birmingham Barons, Rickwood Field is 108 years old. It predates Boston’s Fenway Park (1912) and Chicago’s Wrigley Field (1914). The Rickwood Classic has been an annual tradition for the Birmingham Barons since 1996, with the exception of 2017 when Rickwood Field closed temporarily for structural repairs. The game has previously been covered by national media outlets including HBO’s Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel, ESPN and MiLB.com.
The historic Rickwood Field has been featured in 3 movies: the 1994 Ty Cobb biopic “Cobb,” the TV movie “Soul of the Game” about Satchel Paige, Josh Gibson and Jackie Robinson vying to be the first to break the major league’s color barrier, and the 2013 biographical film “42” about the integration of professional baseball.
3. The Birmingham Barons will sport retro-style uniforms harkening back to the “Fabulous Fifties.”
This year’s Rickwood Classic is a nod to the 1953-1956 era when the Birmingham team was affiliated with the New York Yankees. Players will wear throwback grey uniforms and caps with vintage Yankees navy blue script. The uniforms will be auctioned off to benefit the Friends of Rickwood and their continued efforts to preserve the historic Birmingham ballpark.
4. The great Bucky Dent, a 3-time All-Star and the 1978 World Series Most Valuable Player, with be there!
He’ll throw a ceremonial opening pitch, along with Birmingham City Mayor Randall Woodfin. And theirs aren’t the only famous faces you’ll see. Negro League legends will attend the game with special guest, United States senator Doug Jones.
“Fans travel from all over the nation for the Rickwood Classic, which is a testament to the city of Birmingham’s preservation of this historic ballpark. We’re so thankful for the Friends of Rickwood for allowing us to step back in time to celebrate America’s pastime.”—Jonathan Nelson, Birmingham Barons President and GM
5. You can score supercool autographs while you’re there.
- Book Signing: Sports writer Gaylon White will be on the concourse to sign copies of his new book: “Singles and Smiles, How Artie Wilson Broke Baseball’s Color Barrier.” Wilson was a member of the Birmingham Black Barons from 1944-48.
- Autograph Signing: Bucky Dent will sign autographs for fans in the Rickwood Field conference from 11 a.m. to noon, and from about 1 p.m. to 2 p.m.
6. Tune your radio to WERC 960 AM.
Live streaming didn’t exist in the ’50s, and the Rickwood Classic stays true to that era. Listen to Curt Bloom announce the game play-by-play on Barons radio affiliate WERC 960 AM.
7. Tickets for the Rickwood Classic are on sale now.
Purchase tickets for the Rickwood Classic on May 30 through the Birmingham Barons at barons.com, by phone at 205-988-3200 or in-person at the Regions Field ticket office, open Monday through Friday, 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Adult tickets range from $7 to $15 depending on seat location. Senior, youth and military priced tickets are only available in person at the ticket office.