Vintage Base Ball, not Baseball

Petoskey Mossbacks vs. Regular Base Ball Club of Mt. Clemens

Swift Field-Village of Bay View, MI: This is something I’ve wanted to see for a while now, but trying to find out when and where these games are taking place can be a challenge. The kids and I travelled to Petoskey over the weekend to see one of the games of the Kilwins Fudge Bucket Classic tournament, featuring the hometown Mossbacks and the Regular Base Ball Club of Mt. Clemens, also known as the Mt. Clemens Regulars. The tournament does have a website, but it still states the participating teams and schedules are still to be determined, despite the fact the games are all over. Lucky for me, though, one of the participants answered one of my e-mails and let us know when and where the games were. When we arrived at the game, there was a small crowd, and I’m sure that they would have some more fans will just a little advertising. The kids are I thought this was a lot of fun, and there were picnic tables for us to sit at and a park for the kids to play on, too, when they weren’t watching the game. The game was played basically in an open field, with ‘bases’ that I assume were just bags filled with sand or something. The most amazing thing is that in the 1860’s era, there were no baseball gloves, and seeing these guys catch and field bare-handed is quite impressive. A few line-drives smacking off open hands can really bring you into the reality of the game. Make no mistake, these guys know how to swing the ‘timber’, as well, and can run the bases pretty effectively. There were many ‘tallies’ scored during our time watching the game. Going back to the beginning, though, the game starts with both team lined up on the field and the one umpire explaining the rules and so on. The home captain welcome the visiting team and thanked them for coming before the home team introduced themselves. The visiting team captain then thanked the home club for having them, and the visitors were announced. There is just the one umpire who sits at the scorers table, and the game is played on the honor system. The umpire is only called upon if there is a dispute. Although these games are played for fun, they are very competitive and everyone plays hard. These games are so much fun to watch, and I highly recommend them to any baseball, or base ball, fan. The kids got a kick out of the old uniforms and style of play, and were impressed with the players making plays without gloves. I wish I could report the results of the tournament, but we only stayed to watch the first game, and results are not posted on the website or their local newspaper. I guess the one thing that these players have in common with the trail-blazers of the mid 1800’s is that they play this game for fun and pride. No large contracts or scandals here…

The girls dressed in 1860’s garb hand out ‘newspapers’ with information on the team and travel. No programs back in that day and age.

One of the historic homes in the Bay View area. Notice the ‘garage’ looks more equiped for a horse buggy than an automobile.

Photos property of Minoring In Baseball

8 thoughts on “Vintage Base Ball, not Baseball

  1. Dude! I have been wanting to check these games out too! Thanks for sharing! It seems like such a fun time. I’ve heard that they also use the old timey jargon as well, adding to the overall atmosphere.

    1. Jeff-it was a lot of fun, and, yes, they use the talk of yester year to add to the experience. I definately recommend it if there is a game in your area. They don’t advertise much, though, so you might have to do some research to find them.

  2. Jason "Barney Rubble" Lepird.Petoskey Mossbacks Outfield Tender

    Jeff thanks for the Article.Just a heads up,if you go to you can see all the member teams in the US.

  3. Mike- Sounds like a great time! I’ve been to a game like this at Old World Wisconsin in 2009. The Eagle diamonds vs. Greenbush dead citys. It was in the Milwaukee area. It’s quite the experiance. Also interesting when you hear them say “Apple, ash, willow, dish, boot, Cloud Hunter, Bug bruiser, Bowler” and other old Terminology.

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