It’s not the Field of Dreams game, but Major League Baseball is planning some “Specialty Games” to honor the legacy of the Negro leagues, and one of them will feature the SF Giants playing on the very field where Willie Mays played for the Birmingham Black Barons.
Last week, the Chronicle had a pretty nice (though unconfirmed) scoop that your San Francisco Giants would be playing in the 2024 Field of Dreams game, the annual Major League Baseball game played in a cornfield with a baseball diamond in Dyersville, Iowa where the 1989 Kevin Costner movie Field of Dreams was shot. Except it would not be at that Iowa cornfield, but instead at Birmingham, Alabama’s Rickwood Field, which is the oldest surviving professional baseball stadium in the United States. The scoop was not confirmed at the time.
On June 20, 2024, Rickwood Field takes center stage. See you next year, Birmingham! pic.twitter.com/ciVqxh0foA— MLB (@MLB) June 20, 2023
But it’s confirmed now, as the New York Times reports the Giants will be playing the St. Louis Cardinals at Rickwood Field in June 2024. But it won’t be the Field of Dreams game. Instead it will be a “Specialty Game” honoring the history and legacy of baseball’s early Negro leagues. It will be a real game that counts in the standings, not an exhibition game, and the Giants and Cardinals will both be wearing throwback Negro league uniforms.
As the Times explains, Rickwood Field has been around for 113 years, and is where Willie Mays played professionally for the Birmingham Black Barons in 1948 (when he was only 16 years old!). He took the team to the Negro World Series that year, and further, Mays grew up five miles from the stadium.
"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," Mays said in an MLB press release. "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."
The Giants-Cardinals game at Rickwood Field will be played on June 20, 2024, exactly one year from today. That will be a Thursday night, and the game will be broadcast nationally on Fox starting at 4 p.m. PT.
Image: UNITED STATES - MARCH 06: Rickwood Field, Birmingham, Alabama (Photo by Carol M. Highsmith/Buyenlarge/Getty Images)