Vintage Baseball Game In Deep River

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The historical societies of Chester, Deep River and Essex are teaming up to present their second annual Vintage Base Ball game on Sunday, Sept. 20 at Devitt Field in Deep River. The 2 p.m. game will be free to the public

(And yes, “base ball” is spelled correctly here – this was the 19th-century spelling of the game.)

Three teams – one from each town – will play two or three innings each, round-robin style, by 1857 rules (such as no bunting or stealing) and customs to recreate the earliest days of America’s pastime, when courtesy prevailed on and off the playing field. For instance, there is no swearing, no spitting and no “ungentlemanly” behavior anywhere during the games.

“Ballists” (players) will use replica equipment – authentic reproduction wooden bats and hand-sewn hard balls. No gloves are worn (the ball was somewhat softer then), and a striker (term for “batter”) will be out if a fielder catches a ball on its first bounce. Free programs will be provided at the game with team rosters, 1857 rules and terminology.

Each team will be wearing specially made period shirts and caps, representative of their different towns’ uniforms from the 19th century, and you can count on spotting a few “game day” mustaches.

So, using more terminology from the past, make a point to be a Crank (fan) at the Match (game) when the Club Nine (team) legs it (runs to a base) hoping to make Aces (runs) before Player Dead (an Out).

Old-time refreshments will be sold by Ivoryton Tavern & Café. Bring lawn chairs to supplement the limited seating at the field. The rain date will be Sept. 27.