For someone or something to come back after 20 or 30 years is amazing. In Cleveland the former stadium for the Indians baseball team has made a comeback after being unused for nearly 70 years.
League Park is located in the Hough neighborhood on the east side of Cleveland. In the early days of baseball many stadiums were located in the neighborhoods like this.
As with many other cities Cleveland built a larger, more centrally located stadium downtown and League Park was essentially torn down in 1951, with the exception of a small brick ticket office.
All that has changed in the last few years as the city of Cleveland has invested significant money in bringing back League Park. They have restored the ticket office, and remaining wall, and added a new field.
The field is once again available for baseball.
The ticket office now serves as a small museum commemorating baseball, with an emphasis on Cleveland.
While League Park will never again host major league baseball, it has found a great new life.
Since the Houston Astros had a home game, and we were staying a couple of blocks away, we checked out the scene. As with most stadiums they have sold the naming rights, so they play at Minute Maid Park 🙂
The crowd was gathering outside before the gates opened.
Anytime I visit a new stadium I like to get there early and walk around to check out the sights.
The TV people were preparing for their broadcast.
As with all the stadiums built in the last 25 years, all have ‘quirky’ features. This stadium has a retractable dome (which was closed because it was 90 and humid), as well as a giant glass wall facing the downtown buildings.
The bullpens were empty.
Some basic instructions were occurring.
Marketing + Marketing = Excess.
The left field scoreboard and stands.
Finally it was time for the game and the obligatory national anthem. This group of young string instrument players were excellent.
The Phillips 66 Home Run Pump, brought to you by Phillips 66.
They have a large train along the glass wall. This train weights 60,000 pounds, and the driver actually drives (and stops) it. In researching this there is no apparent reason why there is a train there other than someone liked the idea.
The massive main scoreboard – everything you need to know about Jose Abreu.
If you can’t hit a real baseball virtual reality gives you the chance.
They have cheerleader at a baseball game…. The most excited the crowd got was for the free t shirts.
Almost forgot – there was a baseball game played.
Crowds going for, or dodging, foul balls always make good subjects.
The Barber Motorsports Museum is located in suburban Birmingham in the town of Leeds. It is hands down one of the very best Motorsports museums in the world.
With over 1600 motorcycles from over 200 manufacturers it is the preeminent collection. Over 900 are displayed in the 200,000+ square foot museum, along with 100 cars. Oh yeah, a world class road course race track is on the grounds as well that Porsche uses for their racing school.
Please note with that many options for photos this posting is quite long, with over 40 photos. But words don’t do the venue justice so the photos will speak for themselves.
Despite what Fenway Park, Wrigley Field, or even Bosse Field in Evansville, Indiana say, Rickwood Field in Birmingham is America’s oldest baseball stadium.
Opened in 1910 it is in amazingly similar look and condition to the day it was opened.
While it is no longer used regularly for the minor league Birmingham Barons, it still sees some use with a tribute game by the Barons, as well as other use.
Most frequently it is used as a movie set for retro baseball movies, as well as local colleges.
As you enter the stadium you are greeted with old entry gates, not metal detectors.
The lineups are written on a chalkboard.
Going into the box seats you have a fence surrounding the home plate area for protection from foul balls.
The seats are still all wood, not plastic.
For most a large roof protects you from the hot Alabama summer sun.
Looking down the stands towards the press box. The original press box was a tiny 4 person booth on the roof, but this one was added for a period piece movie and it was left as it is more functional.
We were permitted to go onto the perfectly manicured field to check it out. The center field fence seems far away from here.
Also note how much foul ground there is behind home plate – many would be foul balls likely turn into outs here.
Looking down first base toward right field show the unusual cantilevered light towers.
Left field is similar, with a ‘batting barn’ built further off to the left.
A view from home plate back towards the stands again show the foul territory.
Despite it’s minimal use, they keep the field in perfect condition.
The view of the right field stands are far longer than those along left field. When this stadium was built in 1910 Forbes Field in Pittsburgh had just been completed as the standard in stadium design, and the architects here used essentially the same design – albeit with much less seating than the major league stadium.
As we make our way into the outfield you can see the advertising along the outfield fence. This was a common practice in the early 1900s, and the advertising that is there is either period advertising, or new companies with the ads made to look period correct.
The scoreboard has been restored to the early 1900s look, with the scorekeeping done manually.
The teams listed would be those from the 1930s – Atlanta is still in the Southern League, and Brooklyn still has the Dodgers.
Birmingham is happy to see you.
Even the Vulcan is present.
The ads are very cool.
Another sign of the history of the south – there were all white teams, and all black teams. Rickwood Field hosted both Birmingham teams.
This practice ended in the 1950s.
The right field stands.
Rickwood Field is easily one of the best baseball ‘park’s I have ever seen. While it has been made retro for Hollywood , it really works nicely.