A couple of years ago, we had the opportunity to work on a piece of Americana. Rickwood Field, the oldest baseball park in the country, called on us to remodel the locker rooms, perform structural modifications to the grandstand and our favorite–build a historically accurate scoreboard. Our work there was a part of history, something to be proud of.
We’ve recently had the opportunity to see our scoreboard come to life in 42, a biographical film about the life of baseball’s Jackie Robinson. The movie details Robinson’s path to become the first African-American player to break the color barrier in baseball when he signed with the Brooklyn Dodgers. Rickwood also doubles for Forbes Field in Pittsburgh and Roosevelt Stadium in Jersey City, N.J.
While filming at Rickwood is nothing new–baseball scenes of Cobb were shot here– it’s a bit more unusual for the field to appear as itself. The opening sequence shows Robinson coming to Birmingham as a member of the Negro Leagues’ Kansas City Monarchs in 1945.
The filming process took place last May. Several Birmingham natives got large roles in the film including Andre Holland, who plays Wendell Smith, the black sportswriter who traveled with Robinson and ghost-wrote a column for him. For each day of filming, 600 extras were onsite. Alan Walker of our estimating department was one of them. He’s interviewed at the 7:50 minute mark of this Alabama Inc episode.
Seeing Alan out there made it feel like the project came full circle for us. It’s an honor to be a part of something so significant.