The Rickwood Classic in Review

Late last May, the Smokies experienced a blast from the past when they played their division rival Birmingham Barons. What made the game special was the setting. The game took place at America’s oldest surviving baseball park; Rickwood Field, for the 18th annual Rickwood Classic.

At the May 29th Rickwood Classic, the middle game of a five game series, former Cub pitching great Ferguson Jenkins joined the two teams to honor former Negro League players at a stadium that once the home not only to the Barons, but to the Black Barons of the Negro League.

The Smokies wore the 1935-36 Knoxville Giants uniforms and, the Barons, a Chicago White Sox affiliate, wore the 1948 Birmingham Black Barons jerseys.

Players who are fortunate enough to participate in the annual Rickwood Classic get to play on the very field on which baseball legends Babe Ruth, Ty Cobb, Willie Mays, and Reggie Jackson once showed their skills. Ty Wright, who played in the classic in 2010 said the Rickwood Classic is a special event and how players should embrace it.

At that point in the 2013 season, the Smokies and the Barons were fighting for the first half championship in the Southern League’s North Division.

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