White Sox Minor Keys: June 20, 2023

Rickwood Field in Birmingham
Rickwood Field in Birmingham (Library of Congress Carol M. Highsmith collection)

When I found out I was moving to within easy driving distance of Birmingham back in January 2020, I circled the Rickwood Classic on my digital calendar, especially after James Fegan made me jealous with his write-up of his experience after the 2019 game.

Then the entire 2020 season was wiped out, and as Minor League Baseball slowly returned to order with a compressed structure and schedule, the Rickwood Classic wasn’t part of it.

Until next year.

The Birmingham Barons will be playing the Montgomery Biscuits at Rickwood Field on June 18, 2024. It’ll effectively serve as the undercard for the main event two days later, when the 114-year-old ballpark will host a game between the San Francisco Giants and St. Louis Cardinals. Rickwood is being modified in order to host an MLB game, and the Giants are coming to town because that’s where Willie Mays broke into baseball with the Birmingham Black Barons in 1948.

This is what I wished for when I wrote up the storybook experience of the inaugural Field of Dreams Game, and saw diminishing returns for the Iowa well:

You read the coverage of the local excitement in Iowa, you watch the unfamiliar surroundings turning professional athletes into goober tourists, and you get the idea that baseball could generate similar success with a domestic barnstorming tour elsewhere. They could support rehabilitation efforts of Negro Leagues parks like Rickwood Field or Hinchcliffe Stadium, or they could hire location scouts to figure out where else they could establish temporary fields with incredible backdrops. With Major League Baseball pulling out of so many areas via contraction of the minor leagues, it could be another way to repair those inroads.

And when you read Mays’ reaction, it’s already paying off:

“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,” said Willie Mays.

The Barons will be my priority, but if the Field of Dreams Game is any indication, it’ll probably be worth my time trying to attend both.

Charlotte 11, Louisville 5

  • Kean Wong made his Charlotte debut and went 1-for-4 with a walk and a strikeout.,
  • Lenyn Sosa returned to the lineup in his first action since June 1 and went 2-for-5.
  • Carlos Pérez was 2-for-4 with a homer and a walk.

Birmingham 5, Mississippi 2

  • Alsander Womack went 0-for-4 with a walk.
  • Bryan Ramos homered as part of his 2-for-5 night, striking out once.
  • Yoelqui Céspedes went 0-for-4.
  • Luis Mieses, 1-for-4 with a K.
  • Adam Hackenberg doubled and struck out thrice.
  • Cristian Mena: 5 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 3 BB, 5 K, 1 WP, 43 of 76 pitches for strikes.

Greensboro 10, Winston-Salem 7

  • Terrell Tatum went 1-for-3 with a walk and a strikeout.
  • DJ Gladney was 0-for-3 with a walk, HBP and a strikeout.
  • Wilfred Veras, 1-for-4 with a walk.
  • Wes Kath was 1-for-4 with a walk, two strikeouts and a stolen base.
  • Uncharacteristic line for Jonathan Cannon: 5.2 IP, 8 H, 5 R, 4 ER, 1 BB, 10 K, 1 HR

ACL White Sox 12, ACL Padres 7

  • Colson Montgomery started at shortstop and went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts.
  • Ryan Burrowes was 1-for-4 with a double and a stolen base.
  • Ronny Hernandez singled, walked thrice and struck out once.
  • Erick Hernandez went 0-for-3 with a walk, sac fly and two strikeouts.

DSL Padres Gold 3, DSL White Sox 2 (8 innings)

  • DÁngelo Tejeda went 0-for-3 with a sac fly and a strikeout.
  • Abraham Nunez was 0-for-3.
  • Stiven Flores went 0-for-1.
  • Rafael Alvarez singled and struck out twice.
  • Juan Uribe Jr. went 0-for-3 with two strikeouts.

Winston-Salem vs. Myrtle Beach, cancelled

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Rickwood is going to be a thousand times cooler than playing at a brand new stadium across the way from a movie set from thirty years ago.


100% agree. I still need to make a trip to KC to the Negro League Museam – only a 4 hr drive.


Good to see Montgomery play a full game at short.


Best (half) bullet in the post:

Colson Montgomery started at shortstop


The draft pick right after Montgomery in ’21 is starting tonight against Oakland in Cleveland. 6-6, 250lb RHP.

Right Size Wrong Shape

Not sure what your point is. He’s 2 years older and pitched in college.


Certainly not concerning Major League-readiness, just saying it would’ve been nice to have another big arm ready in the rotation right now amidst injuries.


I’m going to go out on a limb and say the organization hasn’t clearly communicated a timeline for Montgomery. Any clue when he’ll be back in Birmingham? Without word from the org I know we’re just guessing, but I assume there’s some precedent for this. Is an ACL assignment more of a days, weeks, or months kind of assignment?


I didn’t know Willie Mays was still alive


I think he’s the oldest living Hall of Famer.


I hope he’s still with us and able to attend the game.

Joliet Orange Sox

Willie Mays is the oldest living Hall of Famer. He was born on May 6, 1931 which is the same exact day my mom (who passed 40 years ago) was born.


If Juan Uribe Jr is anything like his old man, he’ll go 0 for the week with a gazillion strikeouts and come back next week and bat .500 with 4 homers and 12 rbi.


Yolbert Sanchez has been on the right trajectory: April BA .203; May BA .324; June BA .356


FWIW, Cannon’s June 14th start was similar (4.2 IP, 8 H, 2 HR, 4 ER, 4 R)…might be worth keeping an eye on him to see if he is hitting a wall or just had a rough week.