Larry has called the Birmingham Barons "a crown jewel of baseball," and it's easy to see why with events like the Rickwood Classic. The Barons have a rich history, and they take it seriously.
Rickwood Field was the home of the Barons from 1910 to 1987, as well as the Negro Leagues' Birmingham Black Barons for decades. It still holds the title of oldest surviving professional park thanks to the conservation efforts from the Friends of Rickwood. Since 1996, the Barons have played an annual game and donated part of the proceeds toward improvement and upkeep of the stadium.
The Barons and Mississippi Braves played this year's Classic last Wednesday, with the theme honoring the Roaring '20s. It gives you an idea of how deep the roots are:
The 2014 Classic celebrated the 'Roarding 20's', a decade that saw the Barons capture two Southern Association titles and set numerous attendance records at Rickwood Field. During the decade, the Barons drew 160,000 fans or more to Rickwood eight times including a then team-record 299,150 in 1927. In 1928, the team posted a team batting average of .331 while winning a club-record 99 games for manager Johnny Dobbs. That team would beat Memphis in a three-game sweep to capture their first championship since 1914. The next season, the Barons made it back-to-back titles under Dobbs as 13 players hit .300 or better, a Southern Association record. That season, the Barons also won their first Dixie Series, besting Dallas from the Texas League, 4-2.
The decade also saw some of the most iconic figures in Barons history pass through Rickwood Field. Legendary player-manager Carlton Molesworth wrapped up a storied career in 1922 and remains one of just three Barons' managers to win two Southern Association or Southern League titles. Third baseman Harold 'Pie' Traynor spent the 1921 season in Birmingham, hitting .336 with 22 doubles, 53 RBI and 101 runs scored en route to a 17-year Major League Career. He would go on to become the first third baseman elected into the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame. From 1927-'29 the Barons were led by hitters Clarence 'Yam' Yaryan and Elliot Bigelow who led the team with 19 home runs in 1927 and a .395 average in 1928.
Sunday's box scores will appear in the comments shortly.