Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Old Time Baseball

Baseball (or as it should be called base ball) teams playing under 19th century rules have become somewhat popular of late. They seem to divide up into teams playing under 1880's rules and those going way Retro and playing the 1860's version.  While passing through Stillwater Minnesota recently we took in a couple of innings of Civil War era base ball.

I love the uniforms, although they look hot and itchy.  At one point the Umpire made a general announcement that, in consultation with the Ladies present, it had been decided that Gentlemen may roll up their sleeves.

Even today Umpires wear a somewhat old fashioned uniform.  But not this Old!  I am sure he researched the gestures used to make rulings.  This means, then as now, "safe".

Wooden bats of course.  If you showed up with an Aluminum specimen you would probably have been fined two dozen cigars and thrown out of the league.  Note also the galvanized pail of water with a dipper in it.  A nice touch on a hot thirsty day.

In 1860's rules the players do not wear gloves.  On the other hand if they catch a ball on one hop it records an out, so there is that. The anachronistic sunglasses seem to have been allowed.  It is a stretch, but in the 19th century green tinted glasses were in use...but to protect eyes from overuse not from the sun.

Although nobody seemed very concerned about the outcome of the game, for the record the above team,  The Rochester Roosters, lost to the Arlington squad by a final score of five aces to three.  Or perhaps four, nobody could recall.

With the casual nature of the competition, combined with the physiques and facial hair on display above, I could totally see myself catching on with a team next season.


martha-in-law said...

I'm no expert but that looks like a 21st century pitch counter in the umpire's left hand. One would expect a brass and enamel gizmo with clicks and levers.

Jennine Stalder said...

Playing baseball 1860’s version? That’s very cool, and their uniforms as well. I definitely want to watch one of their games for me to experience it in person. Also, to see the difference from today’s game. Thanks for sharing!

Jennine Stalder @