UAB BLAZERS BASEBALL Field
University Alabama Birmingham
UAB Blazers Baseball Field was an old sandlot diamond on the Southside Of Birmingham and a Field Of Dreams
The UAB Blazers Baseball Field the current home diamond for UAB baseball team is an old baseball sandlot site on downtown-Birmingham southside where many of the Birmingham area American Legion Baseball games circa 1950's were played.
This baseball diamond well in the past has been the playing field of many a young baseball player growing, learning and developing his baseball skills on this Heart Of Dixie Field Of Dreams.
The present placement of homeplate of the Blazers diamond was in the corner of which was then in leftfield on the old sandlot field. In essence, the old and the modern diamonds have been spun around with a right hand twist of 180 degrees.
The site has a much remembered past history for us old codgers who played, on the old diamond here, at UAB Blazers Baseball Field have gone past those days of dreams for reaching stardom.
Along the side of the street running along University Boulevard is the remaining part of the stonework seating which was then behind and to the third base side of the homeplate area for the old diamond. These stonework seats are now still sitting waiting for the boys of summer. Beyond the right field fence and watching all the traffic on University Blvd or 8th Ave of the UAB Blazers Baseball Field.
I recall as a teenager playing American Legion Baseball on occasion at this diamond. The boys who grew up on the southside of Birmingham spent many happy moments playing baseball at this ball field.
You might say many of these kids on the southside of the city earned their spikes playing their games here at the site of the UAB Blazers Baseball field. All the young baseball players on the southside of the city went on to greater thrills playing varsity baseball at Ramsay and John Carroll high schools.
Birmingham, the city, and the surrounding Jefferson County, were a baseball playing mecca as the Birmingham area burst forth like magic and growing like a "Magic City" from the early 1900's.
Our nation was emerging from the unemployment scourge of the Great Depression and the native and immigrant families were finding plenty of work in Birmingham.
Birmingham, Alabama located here in the Heart Of Dixie was a place where climate and raw materials had combined to make this area in Alabama a place of choice and destiny.
The Birmingham area was blessed with three ample raw materials, coal, limestone and iron ores neccessary for the making of iron and steel. Work was readily available and Birmingham did indeed become a Magic City growing like there was no tomorrow.
My maternal grandad, "Dan Liles" a master brick mason by trade, came to Birmingham as a young man because of this booming growth and good work which was then readily available.
Because of our industrial base of steel making, we were also known as The Pittsburgh Of The South." Alongside all this bustle of employment and population growth, schools were filling to capacity.
Schools filling to the brim meant that the power of athletic events and sports saw a growth to unprecedented heights of popularity. Birmingham was fast becoming the kingpin of sports in the South.
The Birmingham City schools were known as the "Big Five." And to be totally frank there was no better thrill than to be at the old auditorium now "Boutwell" with high schoolers dancing on a Friday night after the football games
Legion Field, "The Gray Lady," had a marquee signage proclaiming Birmingham as the Magic City and Legion Field as The Football Capital Of The South.
In those days the UAB Blazers Baseball Field, was a dusty sandlot baseball infield diamond but a well maintained field kept beautiful by the City Park crews, waiting every summer for the Ump to cry "Play Ball."
Woodlawn, Phillips, Ramsay, West End and Ensley High Schools were the pride of Birmingham. These were the public schools and the parochial school of Roman Catholics was John Carroll High School, which was considered one of the top leading schools of the South.
Two of these schools were located on the southside of the city. Ramsay High School was the public school and John Carroll High School was the parochial school.
The baseball players, playing their ball at these schools, learned the fundamentals of the game right here on the well worn diamond at the present site of the UAB Blazer Baseball Field.
Just as sandlot playing fields had to give way to the modern day facilities such as the UAB Blazers Baseball field, our entire livilihood also changed. Gone, in most part, is the smokestack industry of iron and steel.
Our skyline is now filling with Medical Facilities and Biotech, systems along with Insurance, Banking and many Computer Age Venues.
Now back to the old sandlot field on the southside of Birmingham, the present site of University of Alabama, Birmingham i;e the UAB Blazers Baseball Field.
This field is only one of several on the southside of town;, however, it hosts the current active baseball team our UAB Blazer Baseball Field.
Ironically, one of the lads who grew up on the southside and no less played on this field as a youngster, is the current UAB Blazer Baseball coach.
Larry Giangrosso the UAB coach grew up near this field and no doubt played here on this field of dreams.
There is an old saying, "You can never go home." You may return but things have changed and what once was is no longer. Sad to say, Larry grew up playing baseball as a standout allstar catcher right in the area where he has reluctantly resigned as coach for the UAB baseball team.
Larry Giangrosso not only was a super catcher, he went on to be a hugely successful coach away from home. Coming home to coach the Blazers, the succes was not to continue, and his resignation at the end of this season means he will move on to more success another day and another place.
Pete Giangrosso is Larry's dad and he has passed his competitive spirit on to his son and therefore I am sure Larry will now be moving on to more and brighter accolades.
I must compare Larry to the hugely successful major league manager and "Baseball Wiz," Tommy LaSorda. These two fiercely deep blue eyed competitors of Italian heritage will win and make you proud.
One of my web pages I referred to the relation of brother to brother as being a baseball players greatest loyal fan but let me tell you, Pete the dad and Larry the son, are just as I've described this loyal fan feeling.
A lot has happenned on the old sandlot site of the UAB Blazers Baseball Field. Larry, instead of struggling to turn UAB baseball playing fortunes around maybe if we had only turned the field around, say 180 degrees, then maybe the wins would have come back to our field of dreams.
Godspeed Larry and may your sails have a strong but friendly following wind.
Do not forget our history if you forget it you must repeat it, go to the Baseball History click here UAB Blazers Baseball Field
Batter Up----Let's Play Ball....
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