Original article by Mark Inabinett at AL.com

MLB at Rickwood: A Tribute to the Negro Leagues” will not be big-league baseball’s last visit to Birmingham, Rob Manfred told the San Francisco Chronicle. But the commissioner of baseball isn’t sure when or how Major League Baseball will return.

“We’re going to be back in Birmingham at some point,” Manfred told John Shea, the Chronicle’s national baseball writer. “The timing is still up in the air. We haven’t really made a decision on that. …

“It’s a question of getting 162 games into 186 days. It’s a scheduling thing. But we managed to do it in London, and the player reaction to what’s going on here will make us take a good hard look at that going forward.”

The St. Louis Cardinals defeated the San Francisco Giants 6-5 on Thursday night at Rickwood Field, after MLB and Birmingham poured millions into preparing the nation’s oldest professional ballpark for the nationally televised National League game.

The contest was the crowning event of a week of activities that highlighted the significance of the Negro Leagues in baseball’s history.

Major League Baseball’s visit to Birmingham took on an even deeper meaning when Giants Hall of Famer Willie Mays died two days before the game at age 93. A Birmingham area native, Mays was one of the reasons that MLB chose Rickwood Field for the Negro League salute. As the home field for the Birmingham Black Barons, one of the flagship teams of Black baseball during the game’s segregated era, Rickwood was the site of Mays’ home games as a teenage professional.

“We believe this isn’t a one-off and are hoping this isn’t a one-off,” Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin told the Chronicle. “… MLB will always have a home here. As for an annual event, we’d love to see it happen. We’d love to work it out.”

While “MLB at Rickwood: A Tribute to the Negro Leagues” was a first-of-its-kind event, the Major Leagues have had other games in recent seasons that were not played in the stadiums of big-league teams, including contests in Seoul, Mexico City and London this year. The Field of Dreams Game has been played twice in Dyersville, Iowa, and the seventh annual Little League Classic will match the Detroit Tigers and New York Yankees on Aug. 18 in Williamsport, Pennsylvania.

Former Major League stars also have participated in legends games in Cooperstown, New York, at the National Baseball Hall of Fame’s Doubleday Field. On May 25, the field hosted “The Hall of Fame East-West Classic: A Tribute to the Negro Leagues All-Star Game.”

The Rickwood game featured a salute to Mays with the unveiling of a mural of the Say-Hey Kid. The Hall of Fame’s Negro Leagues tribute included the unveiling of a statue of Mobile native Hank Aaron.