Vintage Base Ball is baseball presented as being played by rules and customs from an earlier period in the sport's history. Games are typically played using rules and uniforms from the 1850s, 1860s and 1880s. Vintage base ball is not only a competitive game, but also a reenactment of baseball life similar to American Civil War reenactment. Players dress in uniforms appropriate to the time period, and in fact many teams are direct copies of teams that existed in the late 19th century. The styles and speech of the 19th century are also used while playing vintage base ball.
The game's name is typically written "base ball" rather than "baseball", as that was the spelling used before the 1880s. Each year at the Heritage Village Summer Festival, local teams have a ‘friendly’ competition. The teams wear vintage uniforms and before the game, the spectators or ‘cranks’ are briefed on their expected involvement in calling the plays. All in good fun, everyone has a great time.
There are typically no fences as base ball is mostly played in fields and green spaces. However, obstacles (e.g. trees, building, etc.) often come into play. Catching the ball can be very difficult because no gloves are used. This lack of gloves, the underhand pitching and other rules make vintage baseball similar to the sport of British baseball.
One commonly held interpretation is that gameplay was marked by a spirit of gentlemanly sportsmanship. Modern vintage ballists will often observe this custom through friendly gestures such as cheering good plays made by opposing players, assisting umpires with making calls at bases, and conducting organized cheers for opposing teams. The politeness and sportsmanship observed in these games are more in keeping with the early days of baseball, which was considered a "gentleman's game".
Hear more about Vintage Base Ball below.
This year’s Vintage Base Ball game was held August 3rd! It was a blast.