31 May

This is my kind of living history

Most people, if they think of historical re-enactors, probably think of Civil War soldiers or maybe SCA members in Renaissance garb. But there are all kinds of re-enactors, including the Vintage Base Ball Association, whose purpose is “to preserve, perpetuate, and promote the game of base ball as it was played during its formative years in the mid-nineteenth century and other historic eras.” That’s base ball, not its modern new-fangled descendant, baseball.

In vintage base ball, players are “ballists,” hitters are “strikers,” and players are declared out if their hits are caught on the first bounce. Ballists play with vintage-style equipment and uniforms. Fans, or “cranks,” cheer on their team with shouts of “Huzza!”

I wish Seattle had some vintage teams. They would be much more enjoyable this year than the Mariners.

If vintage base ball interests you, you should read one of my favorite books, If I Never Get Back, by Darryl Brock. It’s time travel fiction in which a modern man somehow travels back in time to 1869 and ends up traveling with the Cincinnati Red Stockings. A wonderful story with tons of historical detail.

Thanks to Brian at Geohawk for the link to the Riverfront Times article on this topic.

2 thoughts on “This is my kind of living history

  1. Yes, while I was spellchecking my post, Blogger offered “mourners” as an alternative to “Mariners” and all I could do was thing, “No, that’s the fans.”

    I got the impression from the Riverfront Times that the equipment isn’t that outrageously expensive. It could be possible to set a few teams up. What I thought was amusing was how they traced the history of baseball in St. Louis to the very beginning. I’d be curious to see how long it took for base ball to show up in Puget Sound.

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