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Reader BamaNats posted this as a diary a few days ago, and it's so cool that I think it bears repeating:

ESPN Classic will be broadcasting live this Sunday from Birmingham, AL. Why?  Well, (Cliff Clavin voice) it's a little known fact that Rickwood Field in Birmingham is the oldest baseball park in America.  

Seriously.  They've been playing ball there since 1910.  Cobb, Ruth, Gehrig, Shoeless Joe.  All payed there.  (The baseball scenes from the movie "Cobb" were filmed there.  Also home to the Birmingham Black Barons of the old Negro Leagues which featured Piper Davis, Satchel Paige and some teenage outfielder named Willie Mays.  

Which brings us to why ESPN is showing up Sunday.  They're staging an old Black Barons vs. northern white barnstorming team game this weekend.  The coolest thing isn't the throwback uniforms, it's the throwback equipment they'll be using.  I can't wait to see a 3B man up to a hot line drive using a three fingered glove.  

Needless to say it's like Christmas come early for me.  As much as the REASON for the Negro Leagues existing were B.S., I still love reading about them.  So tune into ESPN Classic Sunday if you get a chance (3:oo PM CST).  Rickwood is a gorgeous park and was modeled after Forbes Field.

Go to for more info on the game.  Also a great site for history and pics.  (Click on the Rickwood logo, then the arrow at the bottom right of page for good stuff.  Whoever designed the website should reconsider the navigation process)

Very cool.

And here's the press release. Highlights:

  • Willie Mays will serve as the host.
  • Charley Pride (a former Negro Leaguer?!) will be on hand.
  • George Scott will manage the Black Barons; Jim Bouton will manage the Barnstormers.
  • Eric Collins, Billy Sample, and Chuck D (!) will call the game.
Very, very cool.

Unfortunately, I don't get Classic; do you?