Modeled primarily after Forbes Field in Pittsburgh, Rickwood Field lived up to its owner’s wildest dreams. Over the years, this diamond dazzled with play by some of the greatest players in baseball history. The 1910s brought standing-room-only crowds and future hall of famers like Ty Cobb, Christy Mathewson, Honus “The Flying Dutchman” Wagner, and Birmingham’s hometeam sensation Burleigh Grimes, the last legal spitball pitcher in the Big Leagues.
The Yankees and Babe Ruth were frequent visitors here, the Bambino wooing crowds with towering home runs into the right-field stands. Other stars, such as Rogers Hornsby and “Shoeless” Joe Jackson played here. Dizzy Dean pitched here – and lost 1-0 – in one of the most famous games in Rickwood history. Squaring off against the Barons’ Ray Caldwell, a 43-year-old pitcher in the twilight of his career – the brash young phenom Dizzy Dean (who had guaranteed victory) struck out none to Caldwell’s five, with the winning hit coming from Barons’ second baseman and Alabama Hall of Famer Billy Bancroft.
Throughout those glorious early years, record-breaking crowds overflowed Rickwood’s stands. And, for everyone who walked through the gates, the experience was nothing short of magic. They experienced the innocence, the wonder, the romance of baseball–the way baseball was meant to be.