Hank Aaron Stadium


dscn7572.jpgA little over week ago, I began writing about my recent trip to Alabama, where I visited the Negro Southern League Museum and the Mobile BayBears. But that was before the trade deadline, before they traded Jonathan Schoop, another of my favorite Orioles and the other half of the Machado-Schoop bromance. (Obviously, I’m still not over it.)

Today and tomorrow, I’ll finally finish my tale of baseball in Alabama and my visit to the Mobile BayBears, who will be relocating to Madison, AL, in 2020. They’ve done a phenomenal job of preserving baseball history at Hank Aaron Stadium in Mobile. Not only did they move Hank Aaron’s childhood home from Toulminville, AL, to the stadium grounds, but they have several historical exhibits around the stadium.

For starters, check out the pictures of Hank Aaron’s childhood home:

Throughout the stadium concourse, there are actual stadium seats from current and former baseball stadiums around the country. First, there’s Fulton County Stadium, where Hank Aaron hit his 715th home run to break Babe Ruth’s record:

Next, we stumbled upon seats from Wrigley Field, although it’s unclear exactly why they were there:

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Finally, there are seats from Milwaukee County Stadium, where Hank Aaron started his career with the Milwaukee Braves and ended it with the Milwaukee Brewers:

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Stay tuned for more about the Mobile BayBears tomorrow!

~ baseballrebecca

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Baseball in Alabama


IMG_2225Since we were traveling to Georgia to attend a family event, we decided we may as well make a few stops in Alabama as well and check out some baseball history. It did not take long as we stumbled upon a cool exhibit almost as soon as we deplaned and walked through the airport. The Alabama Sports Hall of Fame and Museum has a small exhibit and a gift shop at the intersection of concourses B and C in Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport. The exhibit highlights Hank Aaron, Frank Thomas, Ozzie Smith, and Bo Jackson, as well as some non-baseball folks. The ASHOF was not on my itinerary this trip, as I had been there several years ago. Nonetheless, its a must-see for any Alabama baseball pilgrimage.

After the unexpected baseball exhibit in the airport, we made our way downtown toward Regions Field, home of the Birmingham Barons. I’d visited this stadium a few years back as well, and was extremely impressed.

DSCN7558Our primary objective for this trip, however, was the Negro Southern League Museum, which is just down the street from Regions Field. We parked the car near Railroad Park, a recreational area downtown, and made our way toward the museum. On our way, we noted that a portion of 1st street, which borders the park, is dedicated to Willie Mays.

Just down the street from the park is the Negro Southern League Museum, which is is absolutely awesome! Tomorrow’s post is dedicated to my visit to this must-see baseball museum.

~ baseballrebecca

 

Films on Friday: Wally Yonamine


In honor of Wally Yonamine’s birthday on Sunday, and to celebrate the 24th anniversary of his induction into the Japanese Baseball Hall of Fame, I’ve posted a video of him discussing introducing the aggressive American-style of play to Japanese baseball:

 

Happy Friday!

~ baseballrebecca

Rockford Peaches v. Peoria Redwings


Recently, the Louise Pettus Archives at Winthrop University uploaded videos from their collection to their YouTube channel, including the one I’ve posted below. The Pettus Archives maintains several resources related to the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League, including videos, photos, and the papers of several AAGPBL players. If I’m ever in Rock Hill, South Carolina, I’ll have to stop by and check out their collection!

~ baseballrebecca

Pepper Street


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Robinson home at 121 Pepper Street, Pasadena, CA (photo courtesy of Hulton Archive via Getty Images)

The city of Pasadena, CA, is alive with memories of Jackie Robinson – if you know where to look. Jack Roosevelt Robinson was born in Cairo, GA, on January 31, 1919. A year later his family moved to Pasadena. Along with another family, Jackie’s mother purchased a home at 121 Pepper Street. She would become sole owner a few years later.

Unfortunately, the house at 121 Pepper Street was torn down in the 1970s. In its place now stands a contemporary house built in 1977 on 123 Pepper Street (which is img_1638currently on the market for a mere $649,000). Outside the house, if you look down on the sidewalk, is a small plaque marking the location as the place the Robinsons once lived.

But that’s not the only place in Pasadena where you can find Jackie’s influence. Tune in on Thursday for more info!

~ baseballrebecca

 

Views of 123 Pepper Street, Pasadena, CA (February 2018)

 

Thank You, Dr. King


Civil Rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr. and baseball great Jackie Robinson met with Governor Edward T. Breathitt in March, 1964 to urge passage of a civil rights bill in Kentucky.
Jackie Robinson, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and Kentucky Governor Edward T. Breathitt, 1964 (Source:  Jim Curtis photograph collection at the University of Kentucky)
“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.”

 

~ Martin Luther King, Jr., Letter from the Birmingham jail, April 16, 1963

 

 

Abandoned Before It Was Empty


Screenshot-2017-10-23 Instagram post by Andy Saavedra • Oct 20, 2017 at 1 35pm UTC
This photo doesn’t quite capture the peeling paint and ugly green fence around the stadium, nor does it show the overgrown parking lots all around RFK Stadium in Washington, DC.

I drive past RFK Stadium nearly every day on the way to my day job (except for those days I decide to take the route that goes by Nats Park instead). It always makes me sad to see the once proud stadium in front of me with its peeling paint and overgrown parking lots. I feel as though its been calling out for help for quite some time now.

On Sunday, my friends and I made a pilgrimage to say our goodbyes to the beautiful, circular stadium that once was home to the Washington Senators, the Washington Nationals, and other teams of the Nation’s Capitol. Here are some of the appalling things we saw on the inside:

The first thing I noticed was weird stuff hanging off of the ceiling – is this peeling paint? weird dust bunnies? This was apparent before we even entered the stadium.

 

Once inside, the concrete and metal walkways immediately took me back to some of my favorite stadiums – like Memorial Stadium in Baltimore and Municipal Stadium in Cleveland – stadiums that no one else seemed to appreciate much. Even the then-state-of-the-art video screen on the concourse was pretty darn cool.

 

The peeling paint and nearly rotting seats, however, were quite appalling.

 

And the abandoned media suite – or whatever that was way up there – was just downright creepy.

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But perhaps saddest of all, were the dugouts left over from the stadium’s baseball days – no longer used for their original purpose, but still proud of their history.

 

 

The conspiracy theorist in me naturally assumes this was all done on purpose: “If You Don’t Fix It, They Won’t Come.” In other words, don’t bother with upkeep, because folks want a fancy new stadium anyway and the sooner the old one falls apart, the sooner we can have a new one. But even if its big and outdated, its still a perfectly good stadium. Its not the stadium’s fault that its been treated rather shabbily since the Washington Nationals moved out.

As I’ve said before, there’s nothing sadder than an abandoned ballpark. Whatever the reasons for its virtual abandonment before it ceased to be used, my heart aches for RFK Stadium, whom I will always miss.

~ baseballrebecca