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Rickwood Field: A Century in America's Oldest Ballpark

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In 1921 the Yankees and Dodgers squared off there, and over time everybody from Babe Ruth, Ty Cobb, Dizzy Dean, Rogers Hornsby, and Satchel Paige to Ted Williams, Hank Aaron, and Willie Mays (a Birmingham native) did star turns at Rickwood.

At the turn of the last century, Allen Harvey “Rick” Woodward, the son of a local iron baron, felt Birmingham – a booming industrial center at the time – needed a ballpark befitting its stature. He set about erecting one modeled after Philadelphia’s Shibe Park, the first concrete-and-steel sports structure in the United States. Woodward fused his first and last names in naming the park.

Birmingham was the epicenter of black baseball up through World War II, as the game was highly popular with African Americans working and playing for in the steel mills and iron mines, and cheering for the Black Barons Negro League entry.

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