White Sox Minor Keys: Aug. 29, 2023

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

As we discussed a couple of months ago, Rickwood Field will be hosting the restored Rickwood Classic featuring the Birmingham Barons on June 18, 2024, followed by a Negro Leagues tribute game between the Cardinals and Giants two days later.

The latter will require plenty of work on the ballpark to meet major-league standards, and in the Washington Post, Jerry Brewer gave a to-do list of sorts when the work starts in October.

To prepare for the event, Rickwood Field will undergo renovations beginning in October. The project will include upgrading the grass playing surface to modern big league standards, padding and moving the outfield walls, overhauling the dugouts, adding new lights and completing a host of general safety and maintenance items. The city has pledged more than $2.5 million to help with the effort.

MLB is tasked with performing tasteful cosmetic surgery on a ballpark known for its old and minimalist charm. Rickwood isn’t a retro creation. It is a largely untouched original. It necessitates a meticulous makeover. Every little detail is significant in a sanctum that still features a scoreboard pocked with baseball dents and the original outfield fences that measured 478 feet to deep center.

Baseball cannot look at the assignment as getting the stadium up to par. It’s more like polishing a neglected treasure.

“We’re looking at trying to keep the ballpark and its authentic state as much as possible,” said Murray Cook, MLB’s field and stadium consultant. “We’re keeping the legacy where it is.”

Jacksonville 2, Charlotte 1 (5½ innings, rain)

  • Carlos Pérez went 1-for-2 with a walk.
  • Seby Zavala was back, going 0-for-2.
  • Adam Hackenberg replaced him and drew a walk in his only PA.
  • Cristian Mena had a successful Triple-A debut: 5 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 3 BB, 3 K, 47 of 91 pitches for strikes.

Montgomery 8, Birmingham 5

  • José Rodríguez went 2-for-4 with a walk and a stolen base.
  • Colson Montgomery, 1-for-4 with a triple, walk and two strikeouts.
  • Bryan Ramos was 2-for-5 with a strikeout.
  • Wilfred Veras has a 1.001 OPS after going 3-for-5.
  • Edgar Quero, 1-for-4 with a walk and two strikeouts.
  • Tim Elko and Terrell Tatum both were 0-for-4 with a K.
  • Alsander Womack singled twice, walked and struck out.
  • Yoelqui Céspedes was 0-for-4 with two strikeouts.
  • Jonathan Cannon: 5 IP, 9 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 0 BB, 5 K, 2 HR

Rome 3, Winston-Salem 2

  • Loidel Chapelli singled thrice, struck out once, stole a base and was caught stealing.
  • Jacob Burke was 0-for-3 with a walk.
  • Brooks Baldwin, 0-for-4 with a strikeout and a stolen base.
  • Wes Kath went 0-for-4 with two strikeouts.
  • Tyler Schweitzer: 3 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 3 BB, 4 K, 1 HBP, 41 of 73 pitches for strikes.
  • Kohl Simas: 1 IP, 2 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 1 K

Fayetteville 2, Kannapolis 0

  • Rikuu Nishida went 0-for-3 with two walks and a strikeout, and was caught stealing.
  • Jacob Gonzalez went 2-for-4.
  • Calvin Harris, 2-for-3 with a walk.
  • Jordan Sprinkle was 1-for-4.
  • Lucas Gordon’s A-ball debut: 2.1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 4 K, 28 of 48 pitches for strikes.
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Is Roger Bossard coming in to upgrade the field?


Had the pleasure of playing at Rickwood several times. The old center field dimensions are awe-inspiring. Padding the walls is OK, the ads on there were put up for a movie shoot (Cobb, I believe). But if MLB puts up a new center field wall closer to home plate it will reduce a lot of the charm (and will be another thing the Friends Of Rickwood will have to maintain).

The dugouts aren’t big enough for a MLB roster + staff so it will be interesting to see how those are addressed.