Baseball Legends Make History at Rickwood Field: A Tribute to Willie Mays and the Negro Leagues

The San Francisco Giants and St. Louis Cardinals created history at Birmingham's iconic Rickwood Field in the first-ever Major League Baseball regular season game in Alabama. 

This game paid tribute to the late legendary Negro League player Willie Mays and honored Juneteenth and the Negro Leagues. Mays, renowned for his exceptional talents, joined the New York Giants and became one of baseball's all-time greats. 

The Fox broadcast revisited Mays' iconic 1954 World Series catch during a commercial break. His extraordinary over-the-shoulder catch in center field against Vic Wertz maintained a 2-2 tie in the eighth inning. Ultimately, the Giants triumphed in extra innings, securing both the game and series. The broadcast briefly featured the historic catch in black and white, preserving the 4:3 aspect ratio before returning to the fifth inning. Color analyst John Smoltz highlighted the historical importance, emphasizing the broadcast's authenticity. 

Play-by-play commentator Joe Davis captured the traditional sound quality, immersing viewers in the era. Smoltz assured viewers, "If you're just tuning in, you're in the right place." Following the fifth inning, the broadcast resumed its modern colorized format. The Cardinals clinched a 6-5 victory. Rickwood Field, the original home of the Birmingham Black Barons in the Negro Leagues since 1910, stands as the oldest operating professional baseball stadium. 

The park predates Fenway Park and Wrigley Field by two and four years, respectively. MLB's recent announcement confirmed the inclusion of Negro League statistics in the official record books.


Get latest news delivered daily!

We will send you breaking news right to your inbox

© 2024 Wayne Dupree, Privacy Policy