We went to a vintage baseball game yesterday. They played by the rules of baseball from the 1860s. Yes, you read that right. 1860s, like during the Civil War.
It was fascinating, really, like watching baby movies of a grown up you know. You see bits and pieces of the person that is familiar to you, and yet it is so very different.
How was it different? For one thing, they didn’t use gloves or any other protective equipment! The ball was a bit bigger and softer than it is now, but playing baseball with your bare hands isn’t easy—especially for the catcher! Because of that, the rules were a bit different than now. A ball could be caught for an out not only straight from the air, but also on one bounce! That included foul balls and foul tips.
The pitcher had a bit more leeway then. Besides pitching underhand, no count of balls was kept. The official only called strikes when the batter swung and missed. Even foul balls weren’t counted as strikes!
Of the two teams we watched play, one regularly plays in these types of games and one was formed for this event. It took the newbies a couple of innings to get the hang of things, but they did. And it really was fun to watch. Our hometown rookies even ended up winning by one run in the ninth inning.
If you enjoy baseball and ever get a chance to see a vintage game, I highly recommend it. It isn’t often you get to “experience” a bit of history, so take advantage of it when you can.