BY COLIN “BIG C” MACGUIRE
The Greenville Standard
Alabama at one time had four home fields: Cramton Bowl (Montgomery), Ladd Stadium (Mobile), Denny (later Bryant-Denny) (Tuscaloosa).
Today I will discuss Legion Field, (Birmingham), the site of many big wins in Alabama football history. Legion Field was named in honor of the American Legion, organization of military veterans.
Legion Field’s first season was in 1927. Alabama’s first game at Legion Field was on Nov. 24, 1927 losing to Georgia 20-6. The game was played on Thanksgiving Day. Alabama’s record at Legion Field in the 1920’s was 3-3.
The 1930’s Alabama’s record at Legion Field was 18-3-3. The 1940’s Tide record was 17-5-1. In 1943, they did not have a team because of World War II.
The 1950’s was a bad decade for Alabama football. The Tide went 10-12-4. From 1954 to 1958, Alabama went 0-10-2 at Legion Field.
The 1960’s was a major improvement with the Tide going 26-4-2. The 1970’s record was 33-6. The 1980’s record was 23-15-1. The 1990’s record was 24-5-1. Gradually the tough games were moving to Bryant-Denny.
The 2000 record at Legion Field was 5-1. The last game played at Legion Field was played on Aug. 30, 2003 vs South Florida. The score was 40-17. The game was televised state wide by ESPN.
The game was the debut of the Mike Shula era. The overall record at Legion Field was 159-54-12. That is a percentage of 71.1. That is very good.
Joe Namath made his debut for Alabama at Legion Field which was on Sept. 22, 1962, beating Georgia 35-0.
Numerous season openers were played at Legion Field. The 1969 shootout between Scott Hunter and Archie Manning, which was on national TV, was played at Legion Field.
The games and names can go on and on. What is sad is that “The Old Gray Lady” is going down. My first Alabama game, I attended was at Legion Field. Alabama faced Southern Cal on Sept. 12, 1970. Sam the Bam Cunningham made his debut that night. Alabama Lost 42-21.
The last Alabama game I attended at Legion Field with Coach Bryant as head coach was Nov. 6, 1982. LSU beat Alabama 20-10.
Coach Bryant’s record at Legion Field was 68-15-5. Legion Field was a great venue and holds a lot of great memories. Next week, high school will be starting up.