BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — Rickwood Field opened in 1910, when a new song called "Take Me Out to the Ball Game" became popular, and now the Birmingham Barons plan to abandon the nation's second oldest baseball park and take their game out to suburbia.
The first two games of the recent Southern League championship series between the Barons and Charlotte were the last for the old green stadium in a rundown section of Birmingham.
Hoover, a burgeoning suburb, is building an $11 million stadium to house the Barons starting next season.
In leaving Rickwood, the team is abandoning a field that, during the years, featured such players as Reggie Jackson, Joe Rudi, Rollie Fingers, Gene Tenace, Jim Piersall and Walt Dropo on Barons teams; Willie Mays, Monte Irvin and Larry Doby on Black Barons teams before the end of segregation, and visiting major leaguers Jackie Robinson, Roy Campanella, Hank Aaron, Brooks Robinson, Ted Williams, Lou Gehrig and Babe Ruth.
Rickwood, named for A.H. (Rick) Woodward, a Birmingham industrialist who built the park, was dedicated in August 1910, just weeks after Comiskey Park, still the home of the Chicago White Sox and the oldest park still in use.