Vintage Base Ball

This afternoon, we drove down to Waterloo to see a vintage base ball game (that space between base and ball seems to be an important distinction in the vintage game). The Belleville Stags were playing the St. Louis Perfectos. We got there just in time to see the players line up on the field:


Things looked familiar, yet different. For example, the bats and balls generally looked like they do now, but both were a little bigger than today’s models:



The terminology is different, too. For example, there were arbiters, instead of umpires:


And the mayor of Waterloo “hurled” the first pitch:


The rules can also make it seem like a different game. No sliding, spitting, or cussing, or the arbiter would throw you off the field. There’s no such thing as a foul strike, no players wore gloves, and the batter was out if the ball was caught off of one bounce (which makes sense, as they don’t wear gloves…you wouldn’t expect them to catch fly balls barehanded, although some players did occasionally!). But looking at the game on the field, you do still know it’s baseball!

As far as I could tell, this bell was rung every time somebody scored:


I loved the uniforms:


Especially the high socks!


And the tally keeper for the Stags was wearing a long dress and carried a parasol…I think I’d like that job!


I also loved the…well, today I guess we’d call it trash talking…that went on between the players. It was all very good-natured, and quite clever. There was a lot of laughter at that ballgame! I also appreciated that one of the players walked around and explained the game and answered questions…that helped clear up some of our confusion!


The Stags won the first game of the doubleheader 6-5. It was too hot for us to stay for the second game, but honestly, we didn’t even care who won…it was just fun to watch the players perform!


And, for those of you who couldn’t be there with us today, a little something special to help you get into the vintage spirit:

We will definitely be going to another Stags game when we get the chance…it was a blast!

“For the glory of the game! Huzzah!”

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