What in the world is Vintage Base Ball?
Vintage Base Ball (Base Ball: Two words) is the national pastime
played as it was in the mid 19th century, and as many say, the way it
was intended. A typical vintage base ball game is an event where
participants wear the old style clothing or uniforms and play base ball
under rules of the 1800s, demonstrating the early history of base ball
as they do so. This is not only fun to play and watch but serves as an
educational tool, as well.
Most "vintage ballists" choose to play by the rules of 1860 because
those still retain most of the customs and practices of the early years
that were changed or done away with as the game evolved.
Many of the rules and objectives of modern baseball are the same
as the old game, such as the 90 foot base paths, three strikes to an
out, three outs to an inning, but there are some very noticeable
differences, too. Pitching is underhand from only 45 feet away. There
are no called balls or strikes, foul balls are not counted as strikes,
and a struck ball caught after only one bounce is counted as an out.
Also, the players don’t wear gloves. But the ball is between 9 3/4 and
10 inches in circumference and a lot softer than the modern tightly
wound baseball, so easier to catch barehanded. And because there
are no called strikes or balls, the object is to pitch the ball where the
batsman will swing at it. This generally leads to a much more active
fielding game which many feel is more fun to watch than modern day
pitchers’ duels. There is a much more detailed look at the differences
and how and when the game changed in the Spectators' Guide
section of the website.
Vintage games will usually have an announcer/narrator who
explains the differences and the history of the game so the fans will
also get a history lesson while they are being entertained.
There are currently about 100 established teams around the
country and interest in the old game is growing in Texas.
In October, 2007, we formally organized the Texas Vintage Base