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.
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.
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.