Until Legion Field was erected, Rickwood was the only major sports facility in town. The park hosted not only the Barons and Black Barons baseball teams, but college football teams from all over the state. Dizzy Dean, Babe Ruth Hank Aaron and Willie Mays all called the park home at one time or the other.
The history of Rickwood Field could fill a book, so today I will focus on the part that’s most personal to us and our team: the scoreboard.
Over the years, as the park was upgraded, the original scoreboard was lost.
A chance at revitalization came in the early 1990s. Because of it’s age and authenticity, film producers chose Rickwood as the perfect set for a movie about Ty Cobb. A vintage board was erected for historical accuracy. It stayed for a few years–and it looked great–but it was a prop. It wasn’t built to last.
As it started to wear down, an opportunity opened up for us. Stewart Perry partnered with the Friends of Rickwood Field and Davis Architects to build a high quality, authentic replacement. Cement board and high performance coatings created a vintage feel that will be enjoyed for years to come.
Today’s board has hand-operated functions, just like the original. Scores are dropped in by boys hanging out in the ballpark. And since it seemed appropriate to unite the old with the modern, the scoreboard has been updated with electronics to ensure the hard-to-reach analogue clock always shows the correct time.
Now, the Barons play a vintage-style game at Rickwood every June. Folks from our office take the afternoon off to check on our scoreboard, all while supporting the history of our city and our hometown team.