2007 Rickwood Classic

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2007 Rickwood Classic poster

The 2007 Rickwood Classic was the 12th in the annual series of "throwback" games played by the Birmingham Barons in vintage-style uniforms at Birmingham's historic Rickwood Field. The Barons won 3-2 against the Jacksonville Suns on a hazy May 30 with smoke in the air from forest fires in Georgia and Florida. Attendance was announced at 5,802.

For the game, the Barons honored their years as an affiliate of the Kansas City Athletics from 1964 to 1965 and charter members of the reconstituted Southern League. The 1964 team was the first integrated club to play professional baseball in Birmingham. (Following the 1965 season, the name was changed to the Birmingham Athletics.)

The home team Barons wore their historic 1964 road uniforms: bright yellow jerseys and pants with green short sleeves, socks and caps. The Suns wore the uniforms of their 1967 team which featured Nolan Ryan. The first 1,500 fans received an "alert orange" baseball of the style proposed by A's owner Charlie Finley for the Major Leagues. The game was presented by State Farm Insurance. Tickets were $9 for general admission.

Robert Moore sang the national anthem before the game and Birmingham mayor Bernard Kincaid threw the first pitch. During the game, the 2007 class of the newly-created Birmingham Barons Hall of Fame was announced. The inductees were Walt Dropo, Norm Zauchin, Reggie Jackson and Joe Drake. Jacksonville Suns chairman Peter Bragan, a Birmingham native, was also honored during the game.

The Barons' Jason Bourgeois scored the tying run in the 3rd inning and the go-ahead run in the 8th, both times stealing bases to get into scoring position. He also snagged a hard Cory Dunlap grounder to get the second out in the 9th inning and setting up reliever Fernando Hernandez's game-ending strikeout. Ryan Wing got the victory from the bullpen. Starter Gio Gonzalez scattered four hits and eight strikeouts over seven innings, but did not get the decision.

Game action at the 2007 Rickwood Classic. Photograph by Joshua Self

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