Greek Giant

“He probably inspired me to play baseball and like it as much as I did. I was a huge Willie Mays fan. For us to be able to go to Rickwood and celebrate that game where he played and all that’s involved now with the Negro Leagues and the stats being incorporated, I think we’re a perfect team to go there.”

-Bob Melvin

Made more poignant with the passing of Willie Mays two days ago, tonight’s game at historic Rickwood Field is sure to be a special moment for Giants fans and baseball fans everywhere. The game begins at 7:15 PM, Eastern between the Giants and Cardinals. MLB put together a nice preview of the game. It’s worth a read. In case you have not read it I recommend our TWG tribute to Willie Mays.

The capacity of the Rickwood Field is 8,370. In case you did not know, this ballpark was home to the Birmingham Black Barons, the local Negro league team and the first pro team of Willie’s career. He was so good as a High Schooler that he played for the team before graduating!

MLB also tells us that “Birmingham has been a pro baseball city since 1885, when a team called the Coal Barons began play. The city was later home to the Black Barons of the Negro Leagues for more than 40 years and has been a staple of Minor League ball for nearly 140 years.

The Double-A Birmingham Barons have been a farm team of the White Sox since 1986, and have also been a feeder club for the Tigers, Cubs, Reds, Pirates, A’s, Yankees and Red Sox. The Barons currently play home games at Regions Field, which opened in 2013.

Among the players to pass through Birmingham on their way to the bigs are Hall of Famer Frank Thomas, and All-Stars Tim Anderson, Robin Ventura, Mark Buehrle and Bo Jackson. NBA Hall of Famer Michael Jordan also suited up for the Barons when he pursued a baseball career in 1994.”

The starting pitchers for tonight’s game are schedule to be Keaton Winn of the Giants against Andre Pallante of the Cardinals.