On Thursday, historic Rickwood Field in Birmingham played host to Major League Baseball in a Negro Leagues tribute between the San Francisco Giants and the St. Louis Cardinals.

Alabama native Brendan Donovan led the Cardinals to victory in the Field of Dreams game, going 3-4 with a home run and three RBI.

RELATED: More than just a game: Birmingham's Rickwood Field honors Willie Mays with first-ever MLB matchup

Rickwood Field, built in 1910, is the oldest professional baseball stadium in the country. It underwent renovations to host MLB's first-ever game in Alabama.

The City of Birmingham committed $4.5 million for the renovations to bring the field up to MLB standards while also keeping Rickwood's history and legacy intact.

"We knew we had some work to do," Murray Cook, a 35-year MLB field and stadium consultant with commercial landscaping firm BrightView, told Sports Business Journal. "The field was in pretty rough shape, the stadium needed some love, and the overall distances were a little skewed."

MLB published a timelapse of the construction, which began in October 2023.

According to BrightView, work done at Rickwood included:

  • Removed 5,000 tons of material from original field

  • Excavated 100 years of chalk from both foul lines, which solidified into a 10-inch thick mass

  • 6,000 tons of sand, clay, and warning track material were used

  • 120,000 square feet of sod was installed

  • Moved home plate back 10 feet and the backstop wall forward 10 feet

  • Outfield fence distance was changed to 325 feet in leftfield, 400 feet in center field, and 332 feet in rightfield

  • Shifted entire field 5 feet counterclockwise

To connect with the author of this story or to comment, email trent.baker@1819news.com.

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