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Rickwood Field: A Century in America's Oldest Ballpark [NOOK Book]

Overview

The extraordinary social history of Rickwood Field becomes the story of baseball itself, gloriously evoked for the centennial of America’s oldest ballpark.


While America has changed dramatically over the last hundred years, Rickwood Field, the pride of Birmingham, Alabama, has remained fixed in time. Best-selling baseball writer Allen Barra journeyed to his native Alabama to capture the glories of a century of baseball lore. In chronicling the history of Rickwood Field, where ...
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Rickwood Field: A Century in America's Oldest Ballpark

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Overview

The extraordinary social history of Rickwood Field becomes the story of baseball itself, gloriously evoked for the centennial of America’s oldest ballpark.


While America has changed dramatically over the last hundred years, Rickwood Field, the pride of Birmingham, Alabama, has remained fixed in time. Best-selling baseball writer Allen Barra journeyed to his native Alabama to capture the glories of a century of baseball lore. In chronicling the history of Rickwood Field, where the manually operated scoreboard still uses numbers painted on metal sheets, Barra also tells of segregated baseball, the vaunted Negro Leagues, and captures the ghosts of the players themselves, including Ty Cobb, Babe Ruth, Satchel Paige, and Willie Mays. Evoking such classics as Shoeless Joe and The Boys of Summer, Barra recalls not only a simpler, bygone era but also a city rife with racial tension and abject poverty, where a tattered ballpark was, and still is, a rare beacon of hope. Indeed, Barra skillfully convinces us that the histories of Rickwood Field, baseball, and the American south are inextricably bound together.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Take a poll of baseball fans about the most famous ancient ballparks in the U.S., and you'll get current landmarks like Fenway Park and Wrigley Field, or those from the past like the Polo Grounds or Ebbets Field. Few would ever think to mention Rickwood Field in Birmingham, Ala., although as Barra explains in this highly informative book, the fabled Dixie ballpark deserves to be mentioned in the same breath. Opened in August 1910, Rickwood Field hosted some of the greatest players in history over the next several decades, like Babe Ruth, Jackie Robinson, Willie Mays, Satchel Paige, Reggie Jackson, and dozens of others. But the park became a part of something bigger in Alabama, as not only was it the home of teams from both the minor leagues and Negro League but also "one of the few places where blacks and whites, at least a few of them, relaxed and enjoyed something together." To the city of Birmingham, baseball was so important that when an exhibition involving both white and black players violated city laws, everyone chose to "look the other way." Barra also explores several other issues, including the segregationist history of the city and the economic factors that molded the area over the years. With dozens of photographs from years past, along with numerous interviews from those who created the park's history (the last part of the book is devoted to contemporary accounts from those who love Rickwood), Barra provides a special glimpse into one of America's undeservedly unknown sports treasures. (Aug.)
Zack Hample
“Everyone raves about Fenway and Wrigley, but Rickwood Field puts them both to shame. Allen Barra paints the corner with Maddux-like precision and brings an untold slice of American baseball history to my younger generation.”
David Maraniss
“One of America’s most insightful and precise sportswriters.”
Paul Finebaum
“A grand slam! Stunningly brilliant. Barra captures the historic nature of Rickwood Field by bringing history to life in a breathtakingly poignant fashion.”
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780393079357
  • Publisher: Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
  • Publication date: 8/30/2010
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 304
  • File size: 2 MB

Meet the Author

Allen Barra is a sports columnist for the Wall Street Journal and the best-selling author of The Last Coach, Yogi Berra: Eternal Yankee and Rickwood Field. His writing appears in the Washington Post, Salon, Playboy, and The Daily Beast. He lives in New Jersey.
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Table of Contents

Preface 1

Chapter 1 Up from the Slag Pile (1815-1909) 7

Chapter 2 Birmingham Men Do it Right (1910-1917) 27

Chapter 3 A Team of Their Own (1918-1925) 47

Chapter 4 The Golden Age (1926-1929) 73

Chapter 5 The Greatest Game Ever Played (1931) 93

Chapter 6 "There was Just Something about the Baseball in That Park" (1932-1947) 113

Chapter 7 "Well, I'm Going to the Ballgame" (1948-1949) 137

Chapter 8 "The Barons were a Memory" (1950-1960) 163

Chapter 9 Everything Dies But... (1961-2009) 185

Extra Innings

Appendix 1 There Used to be a Ballpark 207

Appendix 2 The Baron of Rickwood 221

Appendix 3 Voices of Rickwood 239

Appendix 4 This is a Ballpark 317

Acknowledgments 335

Notes 341

Bibliography 347

Illustration Credits 351

Index 355

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