September 12, 2005
Baseball The Way It Used To Be
Last Saturday, I was lucky enough to witness a marvelous baseball game -- baseball the way it was played at the time of the Civil War.
It was a game between the Essex Base Ball Club of Danvers, Massachusetts vs. a group of Civil War re-enactors from Maine. The Essex team (no nickname because they didn't have nicknames in those days) wore knee length pants and white wool tops with a shield of sorts on the front with a giant "E" emblem stitched on it. The ball was larger than what we recognize as a baseball, but smaller than a softball, and a bit squishy. Bats were heavy and looked homemade.
The rules were different -- no balls and strikes (a batter could stand at the plate as long as he wanted) and fly ball outs were recorded even after a hit ball had bounced once. And none of the fielders wore gloves. Even with a softer ball, I winced every time someone threw over to first.
The game was played in a mowed hay field in rural Maine on a bright, clear, crisp September afternoon.
It was a marvelous game!
Unfortunately, the closest vintage baseball team is up in the bay area. Unless someone here in southern California wants to start one up...
Here's a link to the Essex Base Ball website:
Posted by Kitty Felde at 11:48 PM
Those Civil War reenactors had so much fun that they have decided to start their own vintage base ball team. The Dirigo Vintage Base Ball Club is just getting started but the website is up and running. They hope to bring old time base ball to the Great State of Maine.
Posted by: Michael Johnson on December 16, 2005 4:50 PM