Back in the good ole 19th century, baseball was spelled with two words. Teams played without gloves, and players were referred to as ballists.
Yes, the game changed dramatically over the next 150 years or so – but not for everyone.
Take the Lumber City Base Ball Club, for instance. The team is one of more than 20 vintage baseball clubs that compete each summer in Michigan. Its members wear historically accurate uniforms and follow rules and customs that date back to 1858 to 1867.
“Some of the spectators – who are called cranks, which is a 19th-century term for fans – come dressed up in costume, too,” says Samantha Engel, Executive Director at Whaley Historic House Museum, which co-sponsors the club with the history department at the University of Michigan – Flint.
According to Engel, the team provides a historical interpretation of an important aspect of life in the 19th century – a time when sports and leisure activities were starting to gain in popularity.
“As workdays became more regulated, people were moving from farms to towns and cities, where they didn’t have to work from sun up to sundown,” Engel says. “Something like base ball was a way for friends to gather and enjoy the day, while also engaging in a little bit of gentlemanly, goodhearted competition.”
The Lumber City team will play about 20 games this year, with home games taking place along the Flint River on the University of Michigan-Flint’s campus.
Home games start at 2 p.m. and are scheduled for the following days:
- Saturday, May 23 vs. Wyandot Stars
- Sunday, May 31 vs. Bay City Independents
- Saturday, June 20 vs. Detroit Early Risers
- Saturday, June 27 vs. Mt. Clemons Regulars
- Saturday, July 11 vs. Richmond Bees
- Saturday, July 25 vs. Rochester Grangers (at Camp Copneconic)
- Saturday, Aug. 8 vs. Fallsburg Flats
- Saturday, Sep. 5 vs. Saginaw Old Golds
- Saturday, Sep. 26 vs. Sydney Stars
For more information about the Lumber City Base Ball Club, check out their website, follow them on Facebook or call 810-471-4714.
To learn more about the Vintage Base Ball Association, click here.
Wonder what else is going on in #flintandgenesee? See What’s Possible right here.