Written by Danielle and Andrew Livelsberger
Photography by Andrew Livelsberger
Ohio Village Muffins Website.
Playing over 40 matches a year, this vintage Base Ball team plays the game against other vintage teams in Ohio and around the country. Rules followed are from the 1860's time period. The Ohio Village Muffins home field is located at the Ohio History Connection center in Columbus Ohio off of 17th Street. They play in the field just past the white bridge in the Ohio Village area. The official website has more information as well as a play schedule.
For anyone who loves baseball as we know it today will certainly find the vintage Base Ball games a fun time.
While some of the rules are different, they are by no means unmanageable to wrap your head around. What also helps is that the Muffins employ an "interpreter" at the games. The interpreters job is to answer any questions you might have about the game and he will also explain some plays as they happen on field.
Base Ball as it was played in the 1860's used a wooden bat and a baseball. The bats are relatively unchanged, but the ball is slightly different. It has a thin padded outer coating. This is needed because in this vintage style, the players do not wear/use a leather glove like we see in modern baseball.
Some other differences:
- This was considered a "gentleman's game", meaning it was played more for the exercise and less for the competitiveness of the sport. Score was kept, but the pitcher's job was to deliver balls that were hittable by the batter.
- The pitcher throws under hand.
- An out can be had by catching the ball in the air or "on the hop". On the hop means that they fielder can record an out by cleanly fielding the ball after one hop.
- You cannot overrun any base (even first base).
- Foul balls do not count as strikes.
- A strike out is defined as cleanly missing the ball 3 times.
- There is no base on balls.
The game was fun to watch. We were close enough that we could here all the banter of the players, the coaches and the umpire.
All ages of players are welcome, and everyone was having a good time. The uniforms were vintage style as well, shoes, pants, hats all styled after the 1860's fashion of the day.
The Ohio Village Muffins are the men's team and there is a women's team as well called the Ohio Village Diamonds. On this day, only the men's team was playing.