street. Louis – Giants first team captain Lamonte Wade Jr. was surprised and pleased to learn that Willie Mays knew his name and watched every game. Next season, one of those games will be at the only stadium still standing where Mays once wore her home uniform.
An industry source confirmed to the athlete The San Francisco Chronicle reports that the Giants and St. Louis Cardinals are tentatively scheduled to play next season’s game in Birmingham, Ala. , at historic Rickwood Stadium, where Mays once played in the Negro Leagues with the Birmingham Black Barons. Major League Baseball is set to make an official announcement in a few days.
“It’s going to be historic,” said Wade, the only current player who identifies as African American. “To be able to share the same field with so many greats who have played there before, Willie certainly included, will be a great moment. It will be a special day to know he will be watching us play on the field.”
The Giants were chosen for the game precisely because of Mays, whose other stadiums – Polo Grounds in New York and Seals Stadium and Candlestick Park in San Francisco – have long been demolished. The Cardinals will be assigned to the home team and there will be a day off for both teams between the game in Birmingham and the rest of the series in St. Louis.
Major League Baseball instituted an annual Field of Dreams game in Dyersville, Iowa, in 2020 but the first game was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The inaugural game in 2021 was played between the Chicago White Sox and New York Yankees. The Cincinnati Reds and Chicago Cubs played the second edition last season. The matches were scheduled for the second Thursday in August.
There is no Field of Dreams game this season because the youth baseball and softball complex is being built on the site of the stadium.
Major League Baseball is expected to hold future games at the Field of Dreams site with the addition of additional special venues with an emphasis on celebrating the game’s heritage. The idea of staging a game honoring Mays at Rickwood Field, which had been built in 1910, was first mentioned by San Francisco Chronicle columnist Bruce Jenkins two years earlier.
Wade said he wholeheartedly agrees—especially if the Giants wear uniforms to honor the Black Barons.
“It will be special to wear this shirt,” Wade said. “It’s going to be a day to circle the calendar for sure. It’s a perfect opportunity to show Sports Today, and I’m sure that during the broadcast, they’ll be talking about the Negro leagues and the history behind the park. So the fans and everyone else can learn, too.”
(Photo: Raymond Boyd/Getty Images)
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