Pull up your suspenders and grab those wooden bats. It’s time to watch Vintage Baseball, a new tradition at Riverside’s Big Ball Park will face off Saturday, July 30 at 1:00 p.m. Admission is free for all.
Vintage baseball is a time-honored national sport where participating teams play by 1860s rules. Fitting for Riverside, not only was Big Ball Park included in Frederick Law Olmsted’s original design, but one of the first village developers was a founder of the Chicago White Stockings.
According to the national Vintage Baseball Association website, there were hundreds of baseball clubs competing in the 1860s in the Midwest and East Coast. The website notes that women were allowed to play baseball in the 1860s, and spectators will see women in bloomers and possibly hoop skirts playing during the Salmon vs. Brewmasters game. The Salmon’s roster, for example, includes Second basewoman Katie “Flapjack” Baer and pitcher Madelyn “Man Hands” Grish.
Rules of the 1860s game are different from that of today. For example, the teams do not play on a standard baseball diamond, but prefer an open field. Bats must be round and made of wood and of “any length to suit the striker.” You can read the rules on the Salmon’s website (www.chicagosalmon.org), or they will be available at the game.
Bring your chair and root for your favorite team. Updated information will be posted on the Frederick Law Olmsted Society’s website, www.olmstedsociety.org.