Rickwood Field

Birmingham, Alabama

Oct. 13 - 16, 1997

Season 7

Rickwood Field, birmingham, AL

With Darb managing the money, we end in the black for the very first time and make our first charity donation, a thousand bucks, to the preservation group Friends of Rickwood, the oldest ballpark in America. Built in 1910, the park was home to Negro League teams and just about everyone in baseball history stepped foot on it at one time or another. In 1919, the Pittsburgh Pirates held spring training at Rickwood. One of their outfielders was 28-year-old Casey Stengel. The Alabama Crimson Tide played home football games at Rickwood for 16 seasons (1912-1927).

Pre-tournament action included a 13-man field trip in a stretch Hummer limo to nearby Anniston that included getting chased out of a trailer park by an aggravated man brandishing a shotgun, plus a stroll through a metal detector en route to a truly remarkable acrobatic circus.

On the field, a hollow neckbone caused founding member Rich Bellis to break his neck rounding third base, Bill Brockway one-hopped the left-centerfield wall with a blast at age 70, John Costigan homered to left in golf shoes and had to go retrieve the ball since no one else would. Bellis, wired and immobilized in a neck and head halo, and prone in the hospital intensive care unit, got iced in his groin area by Bob Moyer and The Chairman, who left the scene as the attending nurse arrived.

On October 25th, Tim Mayer’s son Charlie (13) passed away after a freak bicycling fall. The same evening, half a world away under the ugly shadows of Moscow street light, Sasha Muratov lost his son Vladimir, then 21 and one of Russia’s best ballplayers, to a savage street murder, a crime that remains unsolved.

This was also Harley Kane’s rookie season. Harley mentioned he hadn’t gotten iced, an oversight soon remedied.


Rickwood Field


Hall of Fame

Dave French


Bruce Hall

Rookie of the Year


Charlie Blackwell

Jim Collins

John Gilmore

Bruce Hall

Harley Kane

Mike Montgomery

Todd Nelson

Scott O'Neil

Steve Prather

Dave Purcell

Doug Sutton

Harry Vaughn