Historic Rickwood Field, that was home to Minor League and Negro League teams is in need of repairs. The annual Rickwood Classic, a game hosted by the Birmingham Barons in wich the teams wear throwback uniforms, was canceled because the place was shut down after city officials discovered the ballpark needed structural shoring and repairs.
The Barons decided to play the Rickwood Classic at their own stadium, Regions Field and stated the hope Rickwood Field can host the next Rickwood Classic in 2018.
Water damage and erosion have done their work by damaging the oldest ballparks in the US. The damage is even this bad, the city of Birmingham plans to spend $500,000 to make repairs.
Others are doing their best to help to raise money for the much-needed repairs as well. The Friends of Rickwood Field have set up a Go Fund Me account to raise money. The Friends of Rickwood Field are a non-profit organization that maintains the ballpark and promotes the importance of Negro League history. The FORF have set a goal of $25,000.
The Friends of Rickwood have saved Rickwood Field from the wrecking ball way back in 1992. The non-profit organization raised and invested over $2 million to preserve, maintain, and market Rickwood as America’s Oldest Baseball Park. The organization only has two employees and an all-volunteer board. Thanks to the FORF, the ballpark is now a working museum.
The ballpark opened its doors in 1910 and was home to the Birmingham Barons, Birmingham A’s and Birmingham Black Barons, the team Willie Mays played for. As the nation’s oldest ballpark and one of only two original Negro League home fields left standing, Rickwood Field is considered one of the city’s most precious historical artifacts. The Historic American Engineering Record (a division of the National Parks Service) has authenticated Rickwood’s historical eminence.”