PREMIERING: The League, a film about Negro League Baseball, has Rickwood Field connection

Rickwood Field
Rickwood Field (Pat Byington/Bham Now)

For Birmingham baseball fans excited about the San Francisco Giants and St. Louis Cardinals coming to town next fall, the new documentary The League premiering today on Amazon Prime and Apple TV is mandatory viewing.

Produced by Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson and directed by Sam Pollard, The League, is a documentary that tells the story of the Negro League and how it revolutionize the America’s pastime.

Connected to Birmingham

Rickwood Field
Rickwood Field (Pat Byington/Bham Now)

Parts of the hour-and-a-half film were shot at Birmingham’s Rickwood Field. 

According to an interview with Pollard in the Washington Post, a film crew shot “re-creations with local college players in period-specific uniforms and equipment to break up the monotony of black and white archival footage and on-camera interviews in the movie.”

“We’re especially proud of Rickwood Field’s participation in the history of the Negro Leagues which played here from 1920 to 1962,” Gerald Watkins, Chairman of the Friends of Rickwood Field told Bham Now. “Many of the Negro League legends played here such as Satchel Paige Josh Gibson, Willie Mays, Mule Suttles and, of course, Jackie Robinson.”

In the past few years Rickwood Field has been used as a backdrop for several documentaries, including the recently released film on the life of Reggie Jackson which is on Amazon and Say Hey Willie Mays, a documentary about Birmingham native Willie Mays which appeared on HBO.

Negro Southern League Museum

Willie Mays painting at the Birmingham Negro Southern League Museum (Pat Byington/Bham Now)

Along with Rickwood, The League was also shot at the Negro Southern League Museum which next the Regions Field.

The League is representative of the many researchers and storytellers who turn to Birmingham’s Negro Southern League Museum (NSLM) to tell the inspiring story of the Negro Leagues,” said Rick Journey, Director of Communications, City of Birmingham. “NSLM has been proud to host many film projects. The museum along with Rickwood Field provides a window in time, sharing a complete story of  athletic excellence and resilience in the face of segregation.”

More films coming to Birmingham

Jessica Moody with Create Birmingham expects to see more films coming to The Magic City. 

“The south is so culturally rich, and Birmingham has so many unique locations. It’s great seeing our city shine on screen. Whether they are highlighting history or using Birmingham as a backdrop to tell a new story, we love having films in town. We are always grateful to play host to productions.’

Planning to stream The League on Amazon Prime and Apple TV?  Provide us a review on social media by tagging us @bhamnow 

Pat Byington
Pat Byington

Longtime conservationist. Former Executive Director at the Alabama Environmental Council and Wild South. Publisher of the Bama Environmental News for more than 18 years. Career highlights include playing an active role in the creation of Alabama's Forever Wild program, Little River Canyon National Preserve, Dugger Mountain Wilderness, preservation of special places throughout the East through the Wilderness Society and the strengthening (making more stringent) the state of Alabama's cancer risk and mercury standards.

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