MLB To Host Historic Game Honoring Negro League Players At Rickwood Field

June 18, 2024

On Thursday, June 20th, 2024, America’s Oldest Professional Ballpark, Rickwood Field, (located in Birmingham, AL) will host, a special regular season MLB game.

The game will be in tribute to The Negro Leagues and its greatest living player, Birmingham Native, Willie Mays. 

Rickwood Field, the former home of the Birmingham Black Barons of the Negro Leagues, will be the site the contest between the St. Louis Cardinals and San Francisco Giants and will air Thursday, June 20th will air live on Fox 7pm ET/ 6pm (CT).

“We are proud to bring Major League Baseball to historic Rickwood Field in 2024,” said Commissioner of Baseball Robert D. Manfred, Jr. “This opportunity to pay tribute to the Negro Leagues as the Giants and Cardinals play a regular season game at this iconic location is a great honor.

The legacy of the Negro Leagues and its greatest living player, Willie Mays, is one of excellence and perseverance. We look forward to sharing the stories of the Negro Leagues throughout this event next year.” 

“I can’t believe it. I never thought I’d see in my lifetime a Major League Baseball game being played on the very field where I played baseball as a teenager. It has been 75 years since I played for the Birmingham Black Barons at Rickwood Field, and to learn that my Giants and the Cardinals will play a game there and honor the legacy of the Negro Leagues and all those who came before them is really emotional for me. We can’t forget what got us here and that was the Negro Leagues for so many of us,” shared MLB Hall of Famer, Willie Mays.  

MLB collaborated with the Friends of Rickwood and the City of Birmingham to renovate Rickwood Field for 2024, transforming the National Historic Site to host a Major League game. The Major League contest will be a home game for the Cardinals.

On-field personnel for both teams will wear period uniforms highlighting the Negro Leagues histories of both St. Louis and San Francisco.

“Preserving the legacy of the Negro Leagues is vital to growing baseball’s diversity and popularity,” said MLBPA Executive Director Tony Clark. “Willie Mays, like so many other Negro Leaguers, broke down barriers and paved the way for those of us who dreamt of playing baseball at the highest level. This event helps to link the past, present, and future and helps further the cause of attracting a new generation of players to our game.’’ 

MLB hosted several activations on “The Road To Rickwood” including a Minor League contest between the Birmingham Barons and the Montgomery Biscuits on June 18, 2024. 

The Barons called Rickwood Field home during three different periods (1910-1961, 1964-1965, 1981-1987). Each year, the Barons play one game at Rickwood Field in tribute to the organization’s history there.

To generate excitement for the game, Fox Sports in partnership with Fanatic Collectables has reimagined six Negro League legends as 24-foot-tall, 8000 lb trading cards that visited several tour stops including MLB games and tourist destinations beginning with the Negro League Baseball Museum in Kansas City, St. Louis’ Busch Stadium, Fox Plaza in New York City before arriving at Rickwood Field.

The Topps MLB at Rickwood Negro League Collection Cards feature custom artwork by former MLB player Micah Johnson and can be purchased at

The history of Rickwood Field is unmatched, with some of the game’s greatest players stepping foot on its hallowed grounds. These players included Mays, Hank Aaron, Ernie Banks, Cool Papa Bell, Yogi Berra, Roy Campanella, Oscar Charleston, Roberto Clemente, Joe DiMaggio, Larry Doby, Rube Foster, Lou Gehrig who was born in East Harlem, Josh Gibson, Monte Irvin, Reggie Jackson, Buck Leonard, Biz Mackey, Mickey Mantle, Connie Morgan, Stan Musial, Satchel Paige, Frank Robinson, Jackie Robinson, Babe Ruth, Duke Snider, Toni Stone, Cristobal Torriente, Honus Wagner, Willie Wells, and so much more.

Rickwood Field (the lead photograph for this story) is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Former Negro League stars discuss MLB at Rickwood Field
MLB to honor Negro Leagues with historic game at Rickwood Field

The Birmingham Black Barons of the Negro Leagues called Rickwood Field home from 1924 through 1960. As a teenager, Mays began his professional career with the Black Barons in 1948.

He played with them before beginning his legendary MLB career as a member of the New York Giants in 1951. Rickwood Field was the site of the final Negro League World Series game in October 1948, which saw Mays’ Black Barons falling to the Homestead Grays in five games.

Photo credit: 1-5) THL/One/35 Agency.

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