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Rickwood Field: A Century in America's Oldest Ballpark Hardcover – July 26, 2010
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Top Customer Reviews
Reading Allen Barra's latest book, I was surprised to learn that the oldest baseball park in America is not a major league stadium, but is instead Rickwood Field, home of the minor league Birmingham Barons. The stadium was constructed in 1910 by industrialist Rick Woodward for $75,000, an amount today that probably would not even purchase a skybox for the season. The Barons have relocated to suburban Hoover, Alabama, but Rickwood is presently undergoing restoration and renovation to become a baseball museum. The vast, rich history of this ballpark, as recounted by Barra, will make it a must-see location for any baseball fan.
In the decades between the World Wars, baseball was America's game and fans flocked to see games in minor league ballparks across the nation. Players were not paid the huge salaries that came as a result of free agency, and barnstorming and exhibition games in the off-season were common.Read more ›
That's what the very talented Allen Barra has done for the walls of Birmingham's Rickwood Field, the oldest ballpark in America. He has given them voice...And the stories they (and he) have told!!!
The stories told here are not so much about baseball as about baseball in changing times in the Deep South and the nation. In Rickwood Field's case, 1910-1997
An eclectic group of subjects in this work, Willie Mays, Hank Aaron, Bull Connor, of all people, Walt Dropo, Jackie Robinson, Reggie Jackson, Dizzy Dean, Jimmy Piersall, Ty Cobb, and many other of the greatest names in baseball.
Much more than a baseball book, it is the story of social, economic and political change, all told in the venue of a very special ballpark.
If not a Grand Slam, then certainly a bases clearing triple...
That's more or less what Allen Barra has done here. Barra, the fine writer for the Wall Street Journal and Village Voice and the author of some books, Barra grew up in the Birmingham, Alabama, area, and apparently got his early education in baseball there.
The setting was Rickwood Field, which is still open for business for amateur games even if the place is no longer used for professional play. Barra uses the fact that it's been 100 years since Rickwood Field open to launch a history of Birmingham baseball called "Rickwood Field." It was opened in 1910, based on the design of Shibe Park -- the home of the Philadelphia Athletics for several years. If you saw the movie "Cobb," you might remember the scene where Roger Clemens, playing pitcher Ed Walsh, goes up against Tommy Lee Jones, playing Ty Cobb. It was filmed here.
Every town should have someone like Barra doing a history like this. The first 200 pages or so stick mostly to the actual playing of the game. Birmingham had many great players pass through, either for the home team or visitors, despite so-called minor league statue. The list includes Willie Mays, Satchel Paige, Dizzy Dean, Ty Cobb and Reggie Jackson.
The highs and the lows mirror society, naturally. Birmingham had a team in the Negro Leagues, and segregation is part of the story. Heck, the legendary "Bull Conner," a name closely association with the civil rights movement of the Fifties and Sixties, was the team's radio announcer. Some years the place is packed, in others baseball has withered to the point of disappearing for a few years.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I bought this book for my father. He is 84 years old and a huge baseball fan. He absolutely loved the book.Published 5 months ago by Lisa ewing
The story of Rickwood Field and the Birmingham Barons – this is the story of my childhood from the mid-1930s up to 1948, when I left to join the US Air Force. Read morePublished 7 months ago by Earle Jones
Rickwood Field is the grand dame of minor league baseball. But, Negro baseball was not the significance of Rickwood.Published 10 months ago by T. Rogers