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The extraordinary social history of Rickwood Field becomes the story of baseball itself, gloriously evoked for the centennial of America’s oldest ballpark.

While America has changed dramatically over the last hundred years, Rickwood Field, the pride of Birmingham, Alabama, has remained fixed in time. Best-selling baseball writer Allen Barra journeyed to his native Alabama to capture the glories of a century of baseball lore. In chronicling the history of Rickwood Field, where the manually operated scoreboard still uses numbers painted on metal sheets, Barra also tells of segregated baseball, the vaunted Negro Leagues, and captures the ghosts of the players themselves, including Ty Cobb, Babe Ruth, Satchel Paige, and Willie Mays. Evoking such classics as Shoeless Joe and The Boys of Summer, Barra recalls not only a simpler, bygone era but also a city rife with racial tension and abject poverty, where a tattered ballpark was, and still is, a rare beacon of hope. Indeed, Barra skillfully convinces us that the histories of Rickwood Field, baseball, and the American south are inextricably bound together.

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