"Sweet Lou" Highlights the 23rd Rickwood Classic on May 29th

By Birmingham Barons | January 31, 2019 12:46 PM

The Birmingham Barons and The Friends of Rickwood welcome fans back to the legendary Rickwood Field for the 23rd Annual Rickwood Classic presented by Levy's Fine Jewelry.

This annual game is set for Wednesday, May 29th at 12:30 pm and will celebrate the beginning of baseball at Rickwood Field. The game will feature the Birmingham Barons against the Montgomery Biscuits, the Double-A Affiliate of the Tampa Bay Rays.   Former veteran MLB player and Manager "Sweet Lou" Piniella will be the special guest of honor and will be available for autographs during the game.

This will be the second appearance in the classic for the Biscuits who last played in the classic in 2005. In their only appearance in Rickwood Classic, the Biscuits beat the Barons 6-5 in front of 4,663 fans. In the 22-year history of the Rickwood Classic, the Barons are 10-12 overall, including a win in last season's 7-1 victory over the Chattanooga Lookouts.

This year's classic will celebrate the first-ever game played at Rickwood Field on August, 18th 1910 between the Birmingham Coal Barons and the Montgomery Climbers. After tying the game up at two in the bottom of the 9th, Coal Barons Infielder Bert Emery hit a walk-off single to lead the Coal Barons to a 3-2 victory. The 1910 Coal Barons would go on to have eight players play in the Major Leagues including Harry Coveleski, Roy Ellam, Rowdy Elliott, Moxie Manual, Bill McGilvray, Bobby Messenger, and Carlton Molesworth.

The Barons will don the uniforms worn by the 1910 Birmingham Coal Barons featuring a cream-colored jersey with a version of the Birmingham B on the left chest in black, the iconic black diamond B logo on the right sleeve, and black numbers on the back. The team will also wear special vintage white caps with black bills and a black B on it.

"We're thrilled to turn back the clock and once again host the Rickwood Classic at America's Oldest Ballpark on May 29th. Rickwood Field is such an important part of baseball history here in Birmingham and in hosting the Classic it connects so many generations of Barons and baseball fans for one special, fun afternoon." Said Barons Jonathan Nelson. "The Barons and Friends of Rickwood are thrilled to welcome "Sweet Lou" Pinella and thankful for Levy's Fine Jewelry continued support and sponsorship of the Rickwood Classic."

"Thanks to Mayor Randall Woodfin and the Birmingham City Council, fans will see the tremendous improvements to the area around the Park, which includes sidewalks, landscaping, and vintage lighting." said Friends of Rickwood Chairman Gerald Watkins. "Plans are well underway for the 2019 Rickwood Classic. Not only do we anticipate a great game between the Barons and in-state rival Montgomery, but our fans will also have a chance to meet former New York Yankee great, Lou Piniella. We are all looking forward to May 29th."

Lou Piniella, a two-time World Series Champion and American League Rookie of Year played 16 seasons with the Baltimore Orioles, Cleveland Indians, Kansas City Royals, and New York Yankees. Piniella would make one All-Star team and compile over 1,705 hits, 102 home runs, and 766 RBI. Upon retiring Piniella would begin his managerial career which would span 23 years and include three Manager of the Year awards. In 1989, Piniella would lead the Cincinnati Reds to a four-game sweep of the Oakland Athletics to win his third World Series title. In 2001, Piniella would lead the Seattle Mariners to 116 wins tying the 1906 Chicago Cubs for the most wins in a single season.

"Rickwood field is not only a Birmingham treasure, but a national one as well." said Levy's Fine Jewelry Manager Todd Denaburg. "We are incredibly lucky to have the community realize this and to preserve it as opposed to simply tearing it down like so many other past Birmingham treasures. It is an honor to be associated with the Rickwood classic and to help keep this wonderful tradition and ballpark going.

 

In 2009, the Rickwood Classic was named the most desirable Minor League Baseball game to attend in a poll on MiLB.com. The following year it was named Minor League Baseball's Promotion of the Year. Over 145,000 people have attended the Rickwood Classic since it's inception in 1996 while it has been covered by dozens of local and national media outlets including HBO's Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel, ESPN, and MiLB.com.

The Birmingham Barons are the proud Double-A affiliate of the Chicago White Sox. The Barons will open the home portion of their 2019 season at Regions Field on Wednesday, April 10th against the Tennessee Smokies, Double-A affiliate of the Chicago Cubs, with first pitch set for 7:05 p.m. For ticket information, game schedule, promotions calendar, or for additional information about Regions Field, visit barson.com or call (205) 988-3200.

 

This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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