Saturday, May 07, 2011

2011 SEASON ~ Vintage Base Ball Association

The Vintage Base Ball Association:

The Modern Day BROOKLYN ATLANTICS BBC and Other Member Teams Like the NEW YORK GOTHAMS and FLEMINGTON NESHANOCKS Kicked-Off Another Season of 19th Century Baseball.

No Rounders!

Those aficionados of gentlemanly competition from another era have donned their uniforms for another year of Nineteenth Century Baseball.  With Spring Training and the first official games of the year played in late April, the member clubs of the Vintage Base Ball Association and the Mid-Atlantic Vintage Baseball League have already begun recreating another season of baseball as it was played during the Game's childhood days of the mid-1800's.

Baseball prior to 1900 and pre-1871 professionalism is a part of the game that has always fascinated me as an obsessive baseball history buff.  The farther back in Baseball's past I researched, the more enmeshed in it I became.  I came to learn of Baseball's first true dynasty; the Brooklyn Atlantic Baseball Club.  Though the number of their United States Championships is among Baseball Researcher's favorite debates, one matter is not in question; - They were consistently one of the best teams of the 1860's.

But there were other teams of that era that made Brooklyn and Manhattan not just the center of the Baseball universe.  They were in fact, THE Baseball Universe.  Teams like the New York Gothams; New York Mutuals; Greenpoint Eckfords; Brooklyn Putnams; Elizabeth Resolutes (N.J.), Morrisania Unions (Bronx); Brooklyn Excelsiors; and a host of other teams made the NYC area the launching pad from which this game went on to become the National Pastime in the days during and the years after the Civil War ended.

But over three generations since these early days of Baseball's infancy had past until the opening, in 1936, of the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in Cooperstown.  Over seventy years of Baseball History precedes the opening of those doors to the Hall of Fame honoring Baseball's greats, legends, and immortals. 

It is in Brooklyn back during the 1850's and 1860's where many of the men who collaborated together to take a new American Game and not just create history by founding great teams and competing, but they also chronicled the game, and started the preservation of Baseball History.  In Brooklyn is where these men, who nurtured, raised, and played Baseball through it's adolescence, and set it forth to capture the hearts of a Nation, mostly wished their final resting to be and to play Baseball eternally.    Before there was a Cooperstown Museum, there was Green Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn.

Most notably, among those credited with codifying the rules of Baseball; "Fathers of Baseball" -Duncan Curry of the Original N.Y. Knickerbocker team and Hall of Famer; Henry Chadwick - credited with authoring the first true History of Baseball; creating the box score; maintaining statistics; and masterfully chronicling the games of Baseball themselves reside here.  Jim Creighton, who is called Baseball's first super-star and played for the Excelsior BBC, also resides here, just as is the man who is responsible for building the first fully enclosed ball park in Baseball History, with bleachers, refreshments, and of course, a fee for admission.  A great many club member players from the Atlantics; Mutuals; Gothams; Excelsiors; Putnams; Knickerbockers; and Eckfords;  ...only to name a few, all are buried here in Brooklyn's Green Wood Cemetery.

This season, the Vintage Base Ball Association comes to the place where so many of the pioneering athletes of Baseball chose to reassemble together long after their playing days were over.  Vintage Style Baseball and 1864 rules return to Brooklyn for a day of Gentlemen at play on the grounds of Green Wood where the game's forefathers will no doubt have the best seat in the house.

I'm looking forward to attending this year's games, but I'm more interested in meeting up again with new acquaintances like Wickets Garcia and Stacks Hyslop of the New York Gothams.   I'm looking forward to catching up with my first two introductory handshakes into the world of Vintage Baseball- Shakespeare Van Zant and Hammy Obidienzo of the Brooklyn Atlantics Club; and the good man Brooklyn Shaw of the Flemington Neshanock Club.   But to all members, including the fine gentlemen I've met in years past from the Newark Eurekas and New York Mutual Clubs as well, thank you all for your neighborliness.   I eagerly anticipate the arrival of Vintage Baseball again to the place where Baseball became great; my Brooklyn home.

Play Ball!

According to posted schedules on the Gothams and Atlantics web sites, three games are coming Brooklyn's way.  I will try and gain confirmation of these dates.

Saturday  July 24, 2011
The New York Gothams take on the Brooklyn Atlantics at Green Wood Cemetery.
Saturday  August 13, 2011
The New York Mutuals and Brooklyn Atlantics will play at Green Wood Cemetery.

In recent trips to Brooklyn, games have been played at the modern NYC version of Washington Park; former site and home of the Brooklyn Dodgers' ball field.  While the modern dimensions of the park, namely right field, provide a hindrance for the players, it's never stopped the visiting clubs from giving nothing short of a spirited effort.  In all, it should be an entertaining summer as Vintage Baseball returns to Washington Park again this season as well as staging contests in Green Wood Cemetery.

Saturday  September 24, 2011
The New York Mutuals take on the Flemington Neshanock at Washington Park, Brooklyn.

EVENT: ~ JULY 30-31 

I have been told these dates are firm.

Atlantics Base Ball Club of Brooklyn
Gothams Baseball Club of New York
Nashenock Baseball Club of Flemington
Elizabeth Resolutes BBC
Olneyville Baseball
Newtown Sandy Hook BBC
Essex Baseball Club
Providence Grays
Fairplay Baseball Club of Talbot
New London Thames
Whately Pioneers BBC
Roxbury Nine BBC
Bovina Dairymen
New York Mutuals Baseball Club
Elkton Eclipse Baseball Club
Chesapeake and Potomic Baseball Club
Diamond State BBC of Delaware
Havre de Grace Dauntless BBC
Athletic BBC of Philadelphia
Mudville Baseball Club
Excelsior BBC of Arundel

League Links:
The Mid-Atlantic Vintage Baseball League
The Vintage Base Ball Association


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