Rickwood Field - Birmingham, Alabama

Opened in 1910, this ballpark served as the full-time home of the Birmingham Black Barons and Birmingham Barons, the latter until 1987. Repainted for the filming of Cobb in 1994, the Rickwood Classic, one regular season Southern League game, has been played here annually since 1996. These pictures are from 2002.

From this distance, don't worry too much about following the instructions.

The Barons break in their throwback flannel uniforms.

Everything got painted for the movie, even the orange plastic seats.

Trash receptacle on the main concourse, as seen from the seating area above. What's a little falling concrete amongst friends?

The movie scene was set in Philadelphia in 1928.

The rightfield bleachers were allegedly salvaged from the Polo Grounds.

Local sponsors are always welcome, as renovations continue.

The score by innings will be filled in manually. The count is electrified. The out-of-town portion is just for show. Chattanooga is in town today.

The 1987 scoreboard festers in the weeds beneath the right field stands.

Perhaps it could fetch enough at auction to pay for a few repairs to the concrete.

Hey, grandpa, what's for supper?

Funnel cakes, Philly cheese steak, Polish sausage, smoked turkey legs, fried green tomatoes, and bar-b-q pork.

Vida Blue, who went 10-3 for Birmingham in 1969, delivers the ceremonial first pitch of the 2002 Classic, sporting his throwback luau shirt.

On August, 18, 1910, A.H. "Rick" Woodward, owner of the team and eponym of the brand new ballpark, threw the first pitch. From the mound. With the count 1-0, he called the regular pitcher in from the bullpen. The concept of the ceremonial first pitch was introduced sometime later. The concept of the meddlesome ballclub owner has long since disappeared. Hasn't it?

This press box was still in use for the first few classics.

Some 2-by-4s have been nailed to together to provide a more stable, sheltered press box. It's just large enough to accommodate a simulcast by both teams' broadcasters. The Woodward anecdote comes courtesy of Curt Bloom, voice of the Barons since 1992.

Playing one game a year, it's always Opening Day.

Vintage ground rules must be discussed in vintage clothing.

Chattanooga manager Brad Wellman, third base umpire Ricardo Losoya, home plate umpire Scott Hepinstall, and Birmingham manager Wally Backman are grateful that this year's Classic is being played in April.

Big league veteran (of one inning) Pedro Santana looks at ball one, and the 2002 Classic is under way.

After one inning, Hepinstall visited the dugout for a sip of water. The balloon-style chest protector was seen no more.

Wally Backman says "Get Down!"

Wally Backman says "Go Home!"

And a fine time was had by all.

Hoover Metropolitan Stadium - Birmingham, Alabama

This ballpark is owned by the city of Hoover. It has a Birmingham mailing address. Wherever it is, we found it, and so will you. A few scenes of the basketball flick Space Jam were filmed here in 1995.

Michael Jordan played for the Barons in 1994.

A home run into the basket wins a bottle of the local brew, in this case Dale's Steak Seasoning.

The Terry Francona picnic deck.

Francona was Jordan's manager in 1994. A decade later he would manage the World Champion Boston Red Sox.

Tony the Tiger marks the family seating section.

21st century outfield signage.

For the benefit of motion picture art departments of the future who may need to recreate it. Not sure how you're going to explain all that steak sauce.

The upper deck is at street level.

Luxury boxes, press box, and the Michael Jordan Banquet Room.

The secret of life is keeping a neat scorecard

PlayerTeam (organization)Seen hereBig league debut
Tony GwynnHuntsville (Brewers)7/22/2005 7/15/2006
Charlie HaegerBirmingham (White Sox)7/22/2005 5/10/2006
Drew MaciasMobile (Padres)7/20/2006 9/29/2007
Aaron MilesBirmingham (White Sox)4/23/2002 9/11/2003
Arnie MunozBirmingham (White Sox)4/23/2002 6/19/2004
Michael NeuChattanooga (Reds)4/23/2002 4/9/2003 (Athletics)
Miguel OlivoBirmingham (White Sox)4/23/2002 9/15/2002
Vinny RottinoHuntsville (Brewers)7/22/2005 9/1/2006
Danny SandovalBirmingham (White Sox)4/23/2002 7/17/2005 (Phillies)
Josh StewartBirmingham (White Sox)4/23/2002 4/6/2003
Joe ValentineBirmingham (White Sox)4/23/2002 8/24/2003 (Reds)

Back to the ballpark photos page