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Rickwood Field's historic outfield wall

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BIRMINGHAM, AL - One of the original parts of Rickwood Field is still standing.

It's the original outfield wall, right behind the actual wall that will be used in the Rickwood Classic.

Saying Rickwood Field is a pitcher's park would be an understatement, especially when you consider the original dimensions of the park. But a change was made to give the hitters a better chance to score.

"You weren't going to see a lot of home runs, if any, at Rickwood Field with the fences back 478 feet," Friends of Rickwood Field member Tom Cosby said. "In 1938, they moved the fences in a whole 150 feet to left field. Left field is now 323 feet. It's still about the same dimensions as Turner Field in Atlanta."

So why did they make the change?

"I think it was a marketing decision," Cosby said. "I think professional baseball understood that fans wanted to see more scoring and more home runs."

"Fans love the long ball," Friends of Rickwood Field chairman Gerald Watkins said. "That fence out there was just way too far. Back in those days, nobody used steroids and they didn't hit the ball that far all of the time."

478 feet. That's the deepest part of the ballpark under Rickwood Field's original dimensions. Did you know the longest recorded ball ever hit in this ballpark didn't even clear the original wall?

"When Walt Dropo played in 1948, who went on to be a Boston Red Sox star, he actually hit it over the scoreboard after the fences had come in 150 feet, and hit the concrete wall," Cosby said. "That's where they mark it on the wall where his home run hit."

According to ESPN, the longest home run hit in the 2013 season was by Atlanta's Evan Gattis at 486 feet. That's the only home run hit in 2013 that would've cleared the deepest point of Rickwood Field's original wall.
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