Rickwood Field by Allen Barra
A Century in America's Oldest Ballpark

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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.

About Allen Barra

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ALLEN BARRA is the author of Inventing Wyatt Earp, The Last Coach, and Yogi Berra, as well as several essay collections. He is a regular contributor to such publications as the Wall Street Journal, Daily Beast, and Salon.
Published June 29, 2010 by W. W. Norton & Company. 367 pages
Genres: History, Sports & Outdoors. Non-fiction

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Kirkus Reviews

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Wall Street Journal sports columnist Barra (Yogi Berra: Eternal Yankee, 2009, etc.) weaves discussions of baseball and race into his history of Rickwood Field in Birmingham, Ala.

Jul 12 2010 | Read Full Review of Rickwood Field: A Century in ...

Publishers Weekly

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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 E

Jun 14 2010 | Read Full Review of Rickwood Field: A Century in ...

Star Tribune

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Nicely detailed, with fascinating footnotes, "Rickwood Field" traces the history of the nation's oldest ballpark.

Jul 31 2010 | Read Full Review of Rickwood Field: A Century in ...

Book Reporter

Growing up in Chicago, I had the opportunity to attend many baseball games at two temples of the sport: Comiskey Park, where the Chicago White Sox played, and the venerable Wrigley Field, still home of the Chicago Cubs.

Jan 23 2011 | Read Full Review of Rickwood Field: A Century in ...

Dallas News

By SI DUNN / Special Contributor to The Dallas Morning News Austin writer Si Dunn wanted to be a pro baseball player but never advanced past the Pony League.

Aug 01 2010 | Read Full Review of Rickwood Field: A Century in ...


There’s also a lovely passage about her grandmother Eleanor’s stoic attempt to comport with the domestic confines of her time, relieved by an opportunity to return to her beloved science classroom.

Jul 28 2016 | Read Full Review of Rickwood Field: A Century in ...


Knopper’s argument is that more intelligent, ethical, tech-savvy record company leaders would somehow have avoided the decline of the record business, hence the term “self-destruction.” However, he betrays a bias by throwing in sensational music business dramas irrelevant to his theme, such as pa...

Jun 26 2009 | Read Full Review of Rickwood Field: A Century in ...

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