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Vintage Base Ball
Submitted by Alicia Reuter on Tue, 05/22/2012 - 9:59am
Aug 18 2012 1:00 pm
The Northfield Silver Stars will take on the Rochester Roosters in a match of vintage base ball Saturday, August 18, at 1 p.m. near the Rice County Historical Society, just east of the Ice Arena.
The teams will play the game as it was played in the mid-19th century, using 1860 rules. They include no gloves, no called balls and strikes, no bunting, sliding or leading off. Balls caught on the bounce constitute an out or a “hand dead.” The game places a premium on good defense and hard-hit, low liners or “daisy cutters.” The game of the era also required certain decorum, so no spitting, swearing or betting will be allowed by players or fans.
Most historians acknowledge that the game we know today as baseball was born in 1845 when Alexander Cartwright published the Knickerbocker Rules for teams in Manhattan. The game’s popularity soared in the 1860s, thanks in large part to the Civil War. Soldiers played baseball in camp during that epic struggle and brought this exciting, new game back home when the war ended.
The game played in the 1860s was much different than the game we watch today. The baseball was softer and larger than the tightly-wound ball now used. There were no gloves or catching equipment (mattresses and cages). The pitcher was required to deliver the ball underhand so the batter could hit it. There was no leading off, no sliding and no bunting. If a fielder caught a ball on the bounce, the batter was out.
The game’s terminology is also foreign to the contemporary fans. Batters were called “strikers.” Runs were called “aces.” A game was a “match,” and a sharp grounder was called a “daisy cutter.”
This event is free and open to the public. We invite you to come out and cheer on the Silver Stars and watch our “strikers” hit “daisy cutters” until we score some “aces.” We encourage you to bring a blanket or chair to sit on. Peanuts, root beer and water will be available for purchase. Please contact the Rice County Historical Society at 507-332-2121 for more information.