It’s base ball like you’ve never seen it before.
Optional gloves, underhand pitches, no spitting, and gentlemanly discourse will be the law of the diamond, just as it was in 1867, as vintage ball clubs compete at the 13th Annual World Tournament of Historic Base Ball at Greenfield Village this weekend (August 8-9).
There will be 16 vintage base ball clubs from Michigan, New York, Indiana, and Ohio, including the Lah-De-Dahs and the Nationals of Greenfield Village.
Authentic base ball artifacts will be on display including the actual championship bat awarded to the Unknowns from Jackson, Michigan, winners of the 1867 World Tournament that took place in Detroit. (By the way, base ball was two words back then.)
Music from yesteryear will be played by Dodworth Saxhorn Band. The band is based in Ann Arbor and is a re-creation of a community brass band of the mid-1800s. It’s been performing since 1985 and has released two music CDs. You may have heard its music on Ken Burns’ popular Baseball series that aired on Public Television.
Those who really want to know more about the game can take home a copy of Hanney’s Base Ball Book of Reference, which has the rules and guidelines of base ball’s early days.
Those with a strong sense of curiosity about just what it took to play in the old days can find out with the Base Ball Skills Test. During the Players Skill Competition you can find out who among the tournament clubs is the most accurate thrower, fastest runner and farthest thrower.
Visitors can even learn how to play baseball’s English cousin, cricket. The lessons throughout the weekend will be taught by expert Tom Melville.
Greenfield Village hosted the historic base ball games every Saturday and Sunday beginning June 13. The games continue through August 23. The first pitch is at 1:30 pm.
The World Tournament of Historic Base Ball is free with membership or admission to Greenfield Village. Tickets are $25 adults, $22.50 seniors (ages 62 and up), $18.75 youth (ages 5-12) and free for children ages four and under. Discounted tickets can be purchased at Meijer. For more information, call (313) 982-6001 or visit thehenryford.org.