Historic Rickwood Field to receive upgrades totaling $4.5M for MLB visit in 2024

Rickwood Field
Mike Hill, Senior Vice President, On-Field Operations, Major League Baseball,Harold Reynolds – MLB Network Analyst; Emcee, Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin, Gerald Watkins – Friends of Rickwood (Pat Byington/Bham Now)

Birmingham is stepping up to the plate and swinging for the fences in anticipation of the upcoming  MLB at Rickwood Field, A Tribute to the Negro Leagues” game between the St. Louis Cardinals and San Francisco Giants on June 20th, 2024.

Rickwood improvements— the field and dugout

Rickwood Field
Rickwood Field (Pat Byington/Bham Now)

Last week, the Birmingham City Council approved a funding plan to finance and implement $4.5 million in upgrades at Rickwood Field, the nation’s oldest professional ballpark.

A team effort, the Mayor’s office pulled together a public-private funding agreement that involved the City, PNC Bank, Friends of Rickwood Field and the Alabama PACE Board.

The improvements will include:

  • Changing the playing surface to Major League Baseball standards
  • Expanding the dugouts 
  • Extending the netting down the baselines for safety

Birmingham City Councilor Carol Clarke, whose district Rickwood Field resides in, described to Bham Now how the investment is sparking interest in the local community.

“It lit a fire and we’re pretty excited. It’s (Rickwood Field) an old, distressed ballpark, in a distressed neighborhood. It signals a lot of hope for us that the old can be made new enough and nice enough for Major League Baseball.” 

Clarke also told us the community is working with habitat for some new builds and landowners are re-roofing their homes.  

“All this stuff is shining a light and bringing hope.”

International attention to Birmingham

Rickwood Field
Rickwood Field (Pat Byington/Bham Now)

The game between the Cardinals and Giants is expected to be broadcasted to a nationwide audience and in 55 countries. 

The ballpark has a capacity of 10,800+ and has hosted 161 Baseball Hall of Famers since it was built in 1910, including Willie Mays, Satchel Paige, Mickey Mantle and Babe Ruth.

In recent years, the movie 42—a biopic about Jackie Robinson—was filmed at the field.

Are you interested in attending the game coming in 2024? Tell us what your strategies will be to secure a ticket on social media at @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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