Rickwood Field in Birmingham, Alabama is the oldest professional baseball park in the United States. (Photo By Raymond Boyd/Getty Images)
By Matthew Tallarini
World Baseball Network
The San Francisco Chronicle reported Tuesday that Major League Baseball is looking at at playing a Field of Dreams game at Rickwood Field in Birmingham, Alabama in the 2024 season.
The Chronicle’s Susan Slusser reported on Tuesday that the Cardinals would potentially be the home team for a three-game series against the Giants, and there would be an off day for both clubs to travel from Birmingham before finishing the series in St. Louis.
Rickwood Field was home to a Negro League organization, the Birmingham Black Barons, that played in seven different leagues from 1920 to 1960. Hall of Famer Willie Mays, who played the first 21 seasons of his Major League career with the New York and San Francisco Giants, played for the Black Barons as a teenager during the late 1940s and helped them made it to the 1948 Negro League World Series, losing to the Homestead Grays in five games.
Other legends that played at Rickwood Field in the Negro Leagues include country music star Charley Pride and Hall of Famer Satchel Paige.
The legendary ballpark has hosted other community events in the Birmingham area, and have has been maintained as a historical site. The Southern League’s Birmingham Barons, the Double-A affiliate of the Chicago White Sox, play one game at Rickwood Field annually, and the club played there from 1981 to 1987.
The Field of Dreams game was first played during the 2021 Major League Baseball season, with the Chicago White Sox and New York Yankees playing in Dyersville, Iowa, where the movie Field of Dreams was filmed. The event was originally scheduled for the 2020 season and was canceled due to the COVID-19 Pandemic. The Cincinnati Reds and Chicago Cubs played in the second Field of Dreams game last season.
There will be no Field of Dreams game in Iowa this year due to construction at the complex in Dyersville, where a multi-use complex for baseball and softball is being built on the stadium site.
Having the Field of Dreams game at Rickwood Field next season would honor Mays along with the legends of the Negro Leagues that have played at the historic landmark.
Rickwood Field is one of three Negro League baseball stadiums still standing in the United States. Hamtramck Stadium in Hamtramck, Michigan, just outside of Detroit, and Hinchliffe Stadium in Paterson, New Jersey, are the other two.
Hinchliffe Stadium just reopened following a multi-million dollar renovation, and is now home to the New Jersey Jackals of the Frontier League.