September 20, 2014

Tri-Town Base Ball by 1857 Rules – a Free Game for All – Sep. 21

The Deep River baseball team, circa 1910 (check out the horse and buggy back left). Kneeling:  Tony Hamilton, Alfred Arnold, George Desmond, Ray Ferguson, and Frank Joy. Next row: Fred O'Brien, Frank Graham, unknown, Joe O'Neil, Broph Daniels, Harry Pratt, Harold Rankin, unknown, Eugene Pelton and Louis Wright. Photo courtesy of Deep River Historical Society

The Deep River baseball team, circa 1910 (check out the horse and buggy back left). Kneeling: Tony Hamilton, Alfred Arnold, George Desmond, Ray Ferguson, and Frank Joy. Next row: Fred O’Brien, Frank Graham, unknown, Joe O’Neil, Broph Daniels, Harry Pratt, Harold Rankin, unknown, Eugene Pelton and Louis Wright. Photo courtesy of Deep River Historical Society

The historical societies of Chester, Deep River and Essex are teaming up to present a Vintage Base Ball game on Sunday, Sept. 21 at Devitt Field in Deep River. The 2 p.m. game will be free to the public. (And yes, “base ball” is spelled correctly here – this was the 19th-century spelling of the game.)

Three teams – one from each town – will play two or three innings each, round-robin style, by late 19th-century rules (such as no bunting or stealing) and customs to recreate the earliest days of America’s pastime, when courtesy prevailed on and off the playing field. For instance, there is no swearing, no spitting and no “ungentlemanly” behavior anywhere during the games.

The Chester High School team of 1927. Front row: Leonard Goodspeed, Vernon Wilcox, Victor Peterson, Emmet DeVoe, William Collomore; back, Mike Zanardi, Reginald Deuse, Dr. Leon Cash, Lance Parker, Til Lavezzoli, Harold Jones.  Photo courtesy of Chester Historical Society

The Chester High School team of 1927. Front row: Leonard Goodspeed, Vernon Wilcox, Victor Peterson, Emmet DeVoe, William Collomore; back, Mike Zanardi, Reginald Deuse, Dr. Leon Cash, Lance Parker, Til Lavezzoli, Harold Jones. Photo courtesy of Chester Historical Society

Historical commentary will be provided by longtime ballplayer and sports broadcaster Steven Knauth of Ivoryton to help the audience understand base ball rules of the 1850s.

Ballists (players) will use replica equipment – authentic reproduction wooden bats and hand-sewn hard balls. No gloves are worn. Each team will be wearing specially purchased shirts and hats, representative of their different towns’ uniforms from the 19th century.

An Essex baseball team, 1910, wearing shirts with “C & I” on them. Photo courtesy of Essex Historical Society

An Essex baseball team, 1910, wearing shirts with “C & I” on them. Photo courtesy of Essex Historical Society

Old-time refreshments (“buy me some peanuts and cracker jack”) will be sold by Ivoryton Tavern & Café. The audience may want to bring their own chairs. Raindate will be Sept. 28.  More information is available from each town’s historical society, or contact Keith Dauer at 860-526-2331.