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On Thursday, the St. Louis Cardinals and San Francisco Giants will play the first Major League Baseball game at Alabama's Rickwood Field, the home of the Negro Leagues' Birmingham Black Barons and the oldest professional ballpark in the country. 

As it turns out, another piece of history will be made at Rickwood, as Thursday's contest will be umpired by an all-Black crew for the first time in MLB history, according to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic

Adrian Johnson will serve as the crew chief and first-base ump, while Alan Porter calls balls and strikes. C.B. Bucknor will oversee second base and Malachi Moore third base. Jeremie Rehak will manage replays. MLB has employed just 11 Black umpires in AL/NL history; the five working Thursday's game are the only ones active today.

"The fact that we have enough guys to form a whole crew and have a replay guy as well, that says a lot," Johnson told The Athletic. "It's been a long time coming. And it makes me very happy."

Each of the five will be wearing a patch to honor Emmett Ashford, who, in 1966, became the first Black person to serve as an umpire in an MLB contest. Ashford died in 1980, but umpires also wore a patch in 2016 to mark the 50-year anniversary of his historic accomplishment. 

The timing of Thursday's game is appropriate, if regretful in another sense: MLB's visit to Rickwood Field will come just two days after the death of legendary outfielder Willie Mays. As our own Dayn Perry chronicled earlier this week, Mays began his incredible career at Rickwood Field as a member of the Black Barons. He would later join the New York Giants and would spend most of his career with the franchise, even after it relocated to San Francisco.