The history of baseball in the U.S. goes back all the way to the 18th century, but the Lumber City Base Ball Club prefers to play a more modern version — one that follows the rules and customs from the late 1850s or so.
The club, which is gearing up for its 2016 season, is one of more than 20 vintage base ball clubs that compete in Michigan each spring/summer. The teams wear historically accurate uniforms, spell base ball using two words instead of one and don’t subscribe to the “three strikes and you’re out” concept.
“One of the most visible differences is the fact that the players don’t wear mitts,” said Samantha Engel, Executive Director at the Whaley Historic House Museum. “Also, it was a gentlemen’s game. There was no swearing, and you were supposed to cheer on each others’ teams.”
Fans, also known as cranks, will have the opportunity to cheer on the Flint-based club during one of several upcoming home games, which take place along the Flint River on the University of Michigan-Flint’s campus. Games are scheduled for the following days:
- April 30: vs. Rochester Grangers (2 p.m.)
- May 21: Stockton Cup Base Ball Festival (noon)
- June 4: vs. Regular Club of Mt. Clemens (2 p.m.)
- June 11: Carriage Town Classic, Gatling Gun Base Ball Tournament (1 p.m.)
- July 30: vs. Midland River Hogs (2 p.m.)
- August 27: vs. Early Riser Club of Detroit (2 p.m.)
- September 17: vs. Wyandot Stars (2 p.m.)
In the meantime, the club is still building its roster and welcomes potential “ballists” to try out the sport during a scrimmage against the Richmond Bees on Saturday, April 16. For more information, click here.
To learn more about the Vintage Base Ball Association, click here.