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  • Vintage Base Ball Association

    I am part of a vintage baseball league, and I really like it. It teaches you how to really use your hands. Has anyone here ever played a game of vintage ball? If so, what did you think of it?
    "He studied hitting like a broker studies the stock market, how a scribe studies the scriptures" - Carl Yastrzemski on Ted Williams

    "The greatest clutch hitter in Red Sox history has done it again! Big Papi!" - Don Orsillo's call of Ortiz's walk-off single

  • #2
    Way, way, way back when, I think 1993, I played with the Ohio Valley Muffins in a game against Virginia Military Institute. Had a fantastic time. I can still sing the chorus to the team song:

    "Hail to the Muffins, huzzah for the Muffins, victory for the Muffins, we will win this base ball game!"

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    • #3
      Anyone out there who plays vintage base ball (using 1860s - 1880s rules)?

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      • #4
        Does anyone know about where you could join like that?

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        • #5
          Originally posted by bulldogbats View Post
          Anyone out there who plays vintage base ball (using 1860s - 1880s rules)?
          I seen a show once where they were in fact playing according to the old rules and routines, including the vintage style uniforms and style of play along with the ladies in attendance following Victorian era rules of etiquette. I believe it's possibly located near the HOF.

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          • #6
            I think that would be an absolute blast to play. I hope that I can someday get the chance to do that.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by The Commissioner View Post
              Does anyone know about where you could join like that?
              Check out http://wiki.vbba.org/

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              • #8
                There are teams here in Maryland. It's like travel baseball - some pretty significant road trips on weekends.

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                • #9
                  Vintage Club in Maryland

                  We're on of those vintage clubs you are looking for/talking about. We're the Eclipse BBC of Elkton, Maryland and we play a 34 game schedule from the beginning of April until the end of October. There are basically clubs from northern Virginia all the way up to Maine. The only hole is in Delaware and Philadelphia and we are trying to form a couple of clubs in those areas in the Fall and Winter of 2007/2008.
                  We are set up just like a 19th century base ball club would have been in the 1860s and we use the same style uniform, same kind of equipment and same rules and customs as they did in 1864. For more information on us or if you are interesting in playing for us you can look at our website at www.elktonbbc.com. Our players range in age from 22 to 54. (The 54 year old leads the club in hitting and is our hurler!) You don't have to be a former pro player, just someone who loves the history of the game and wants to go out and play. Its easy to learn (but hard to master) and is a blast to play.

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                  • #10
                    Yeah we've been playing for 2 years now. Once you play vintage base ball, you will never go back to playing slow pitch softball again. Its so much fun because its still baseball and its history just draws you in, unlike softball.

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                    • #11
                      vintage teams

                      vbba.org is a good place to start.

                      If people can tell me where they are from, I can probably hook them up with a local team. If you need equipment, let me know, and I can help with that as well.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by The Commissioner View Post
                        Does anyone know about where you could join like that?
                        There is also the VBBF (http://www.vintagebbf.com/). They just had an article written about them on Yahoo! Sports. It sounds like a real blast!
                        RIP - HGF [1937-2009]

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by brewcrew82 View Post
                          There is also the VBBF (http://www.vintagebbf.com/). They just had an article written about them on Yahoo! Sports. It sounds like a real blast!
                          I have no horse in this race, but anyone looking into vintage baseball should be aware that there is controversy between the VBBA crowd and the VBBF. My take on it is that the VBBF takes the Renaissance Faire approach to living history: lots of flashiness to attract people, but at the price of authenticity. It looks like fun, but anyone more interested in the historical side of things, such as exploring how older rules affect the play of the game, would be a better fit with a VBBA club. This is not to say that I don't have some criticisms of some aspects I have seen in the VBBA, but there seems to be a baseline consensus that authenticity is a desirable goal.

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                          • #14
                            The VBBF is kind of an offshoot of the VBBA where someone saw vintage base ball as a way to make some money and really its been a real shot in the arm for the VBBA too because of the high amount of publicity that the VBBF has generated which is only good to everyone who plays vintage base ball. My club is a VBBA club because we like playing by the rules of a specific year which include many underhand games. Because of that, we are able to attract many athletes who are older than their 20's and early 30's but can still play the underhand game well. Many are former softball players who after they came out to one practice have said they will never go back to softball again. I aplaud the VBBF for its way it has marketed its form of entertainment, and I hope they grow (as I have the same hope for the VBBA) because its good for everybody.

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                            • #15
                              Today we played a doubleheader as part of my county's Bicentennial Celebration. The site was John McGraw Field in Truxton, NY and the crowd was sizable due to our tireless marketing campaign.

                              Game One used 1864 baseball rules...the ball was softer, we wore no gloves, you could catch on a bound, and the pitcher served the ball underhanded to you. The catchers were busy as foul tics could be outs if they caught them on one bounce. As the game wore on the ball became softer and did not travel as far. The result was no runs were scored for three innings. Once a new ball was introduced the hitters began hitting shots deeper. A ball was hit over my head in LF that knocked in the winning run in the 10th inning. I wanted badly to catch a ball on one bounce for an out but it never happened. This rule kept the score down for both clubs.

                              Game Two used 1894 baseball rules...the ball was hard now and the gloves were leather but not suitable for one handed catches. You had to catch with two hands. The two young pitchers dominated the game since they threw overhanded and fast. Our young outfielders complained that their hands hurt after catching hard line drives. They learned a new respect for 1894 ML players who were tough enough to handle the daily pain. I was impressed by the young players from both clubs who adapted and played as if they had been doing this forever. This game was clearly comparable to modern baseball. Our club held on to win the game and salvage a split of the doubleheader.

                              I was confused by the 1864 rules when up to bat. The umpire warned me after a pitch was a strike. The next pitch was also a strike but the umpire did not say anything. When I did not swing at the next pitch the umpire told me I had struck out and reminded me he had warned me. Welcome to the 1864 rules of baseball as I had looked at at least 8 balls before then but was not issued a walk.

                              I also made an out due to the fair-foul rule. I hit a ball and it must have first landed fair about a foot away from me. It bounced once so I looked back to see if the catcher would be able to catch it on one bound and get the out. When the catcher couldn't do that I relaxed and was feeling happy that I had another chance. Meanwhile, the catcher knew the rules so he ran after the ball. I was confused and the umpire (who came with the other team I might add!) didn't help me. So I ran to 1B but the catcher's throw beat me to the bag and I was out. Not any fun getting out on a foul ball by your feet.

                              Our young studs who played college ball and high school ball enjoyed the two games and the competitiveness. Our pitcher for the 1894 game kept saying he didn't know how to pitch using the old rules. The other team was experienced and often had runners halfway to 2B before our pitcher had released the ball. They even pulled the hidden ball trick on our runner at 1B.

                              If you ever get a chance to play a Vintage Base Ball Game I would encourage it. It is one thing to analyze the 19th Century game and quite another to actually play it.
                              "He's tougher than a railroad sandwich."
                              "You'se Got The Eye Of An Eagle."

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