The June 20, 2024 regular season game at Historic Rickwood Field between the San Francisco Giants and St. Louis Cardinals finally has a name.
The official title: MLB at Rickwood Field — A Tribute to the Negro Leagues
On Thursday afternoon, MLB Network Analyst Harold Reynolds emceed the MLB announcement which was attended by reporters, fans and local dignitaries.
Statement by Willie Mays
To mark the occasion, Reynolds read a message from Birmingham native, former Birmingham Black Baron and the greatest living baseball player Willie Mays.
“I was very happy to hear the Giants and Cardinals will play a major league baseball game at Rickwood Field next season. I have wonderful memories of playing there with the black Birmingham Black Barons when I was only a kid, if you can believe it was 75 years ago. I hope that the game will be a chance to remember so many really good ballplayers from the Negro Leagues who played it Rickwood Field but never got a chance to play in the big leagues.”
Rickwood is hallowed ground
Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin welcomed Major League Baseball to The Magic City and gave a passionate speech about the importance of this game, not only for Birmingham, but the nation and history.
“It is worth repeating that Rickwood Field is hallowed ground. Where sports became more than entertainment and was a source of empowerment.That’s what this game represents next year. Progress. Power. And my favorite—Pride—and a city that exemplified those terms.
So I want to say to everybody that is present this afternoon that we can’t wait to welcome the Cardinals, the Giants as well as the entire world to Birmingham. On the same field where the victories came in two forms. Both winning games and the chipping away at the barriers that blocked black athletes from the recognition they deserve to make history again.
And for the black athletes who paved the way for us to be here today, I have two words. And no, it’s not ‘play ball’ — but simply, instead —Thank you.”
After the unveiling, fans got to meet baseball greats, Ryan Howard, representing the Cardinals and Giants legend Randy Winn.
What’s next? In the coming year, Rickwood Field is slated for some improvements. This summer, the city passed a measure to spend $500,000 to restore the nation’s oldest professional ballpark.
Remarkably, next year’s matchup will be Rickwood’s first ever regular season MLB game in its 124 year history.
Stay tuned for information about ticket sales.