Vintage Base Ball - Played by 1857 Rules
“I see great things in baseball. It’s our game—the American game.” Walt Whitman (1819-1892)
Just around the corner is your chance to see ‘the American game’ played by the rules of 1857, much the same as was seen by one of America’s finest poets.
This September, teams representing Chester (the “Chester Squirrels”), Deep River (the “Deep River Haz Beenz”) and Essex (ICE – Ivoryton, Centerbrook, Essex – Elephants) will be meeting in a round-robin format at Devitt Field in Deep River. There is no admission charge for this family event sponsored by the Chester, Deep River and Essex Historical Societies. Bring a chair to supplement limited ballfield seating.
Once again, players will be wearing period shirts and caps and you can count on spotting a few ‘game day’ mustaches. No gloves are allowed (the ball was somewhat softer then) and a striker (term for ‘batter’) was out if a fielder caught a ball on its first bounce under 1857 rules. Free programs will be provided at the game with team rosters, 1857 rules and terminology. Historical commentary will be provided by longtime ballplayer and sports broadcaster Steven Knauth of Ivoryton to help the audience understand base ball rules of the 1850s. Sportswriter Peter Zanardi of Chester will offer local color.
So, using more terminology from the past, make a point to be a Crank (fan) at the Match (game) when the Club Nine (team) legs it (runs to a base) hoping to make Aces (runs) before Player Dead (an Out).