About The River

Friday, June 21, 2013

On the Road Friday - Vintage Base Ball

We are on the road this Friday, to watch some base ball.
"Hey, Carla, don't ya know how to spell baseball?"

Fun Fact
  (Base Ball was spelled as two words prior to the 1880's)

Pioneer Village Museum hosted a Vintage Base Ball weekend. We enjoyed watching and listening to the fun.
Click here for more information about Pioneer Village Museum.

Umpires or Coaches
Another difference in the game is the lack of umpires and base coaches. Only one umpire is required, and judgments are made only when needed or requested.
The umpire may ask the players or cranks (spectator) for assistance in making the call.
Players are presumed to be gentlemen, and in addition to not swearing, scratching, betting or spitting, courteously make their own decisions about who is out. An ungentlemanly player - or crank - may be fined 25 cents by the umpire. 

 Players (sometimes called "ballists") wear period reproduction uniforms, either with early - style long trousers and long sleeved "shield" shirt, or with later - style knickers and lace-up shirt.
Teams recreate the game as it was first played, using no gloves, masks or pads.
I like the first aid basket.
 Do you see the bell by the first aid basket?
A player crossing home base must tally the "ace" with the scorekeeper, often ringing a bell to announce the run.
 The arrangement of the 1860 field is familiar to modern fans or "cranks", but varies from that of today's game.
There are typically no fences and no groomed base lines.
There is no pitcher's mound.
The pitcher called the "hurler," can position himself anywhere behind a four-yard line that runs through the pitcher's point, 45 feet from home base.
Vintage base ball equipment is definitely not high tech. Wood bats made from the 1860 rules vintage clubs are not to exceed 2.5 inches in diameter with no limit to the length of the bat.

The single piece of leather covering the ball is hand stitched, so each ball is slightly different. Being handmade, the balls tend to be softer and do not carry as far as modern wound baseballs.

"Ballists" never wear gloves or "mitts" and similarly, the catcher - styled the "behind" - has no modern safety equipment.

Games were just as likely to be played after work on a Wednesday as on a Saturday, but never on a Sunday.

The signing of the national anthem prior to a game did not occur until after World War 2.

A chorus of "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" during a seventh inning stretch could not take place until after the song was written in 1908.

 We enjoyed our Saturday of Vintage Base Ball. We loved the fellowship on the field, lots of joking with each other.

Thank you for joining me today, for on the road Friday!


  1. That is cute!!!! And what fun!!!

  2. I never knew how different baseball was way back then. A fun history lesson.

  3. I've been playing vintage base ball for 3 years now and you did a wonderful job with the details. One more interesting fact, a foul tick (ball) caught by a crank (fan) is an out too.

  4. Carla, that is so interesting! It looks like scenes from an old-fashioned movie...like 'Avonlea' or something. I enjoyed reading this...I'll have to pass the link on to my daughter....our grandson is 9 and this has been his first season I think. Have a great day! Maggie Ann


High Fives from Wisconsin!