Sunday, April 29, 2012

N.Y. Gothams ~ Vintage Base Ball Returns to Brooklyn

Spend Sunday Afternoon Learning Why
Base Ball Became Our National Pastime.

April 29, 2012 ~  10:00 a.m.


The Old Stone House

Gothams vs. Neshanock at the Old Stone House ~ 2010

The history of Vintage Base Ball already gained my interest long ago.  But when the first real recreations of the game came to the Old Stone House in Brooklyn during the Fall of 2009, the club members instantly sparked my fandom.  Suddenly, I found more favorite teams to follow.  Imagine that?

The 2009 season was my initial encounter with the likes of the Brooklyn Atlantics Base Ball Club. That was the year when I also met "Brooklyn" from the Neshanock Club, and "Wickets" of the Gothams.

The New York Gothams BBC and the Flemington Neshanock Club returned to the Old Stone House in 2010, but this time brought along with them the Newark Eurekas BBC.  Together, they spent another late Autumn morning and afternoon participating in round robin play.

Last year's plans to host games in Brooklyn ran into logistical troubles, and so the Vintage season passed us by.  However, I'm very happy to announce, Vintage Base Ball is returning to Brooklyn this Sunday, April 29th.

The locals - NYC's only Vintage team - The Gothams BBC of New York, return along with the Flemington Neshanock BBC.  This season they will be competing along with the Capital Base Ball Club of Columbus, Ohio, in another round robin series to be played again at the Old Stone House at Washington Park.

The Gothams have played four matches so far, and are winners of three.  They opened their season with victories over the Atlantic Base Ball Club, and the Flemington Neshanocks.  Most recently, they defeated the Manetto Hill Surprise by a score of 22-4 in the NY/NJ Cup tournament played last week at Old Bethpage Restoration Village.  Their lone loss of the season came during last week's Cup play at the hands of the Mutual Base Ball Club of New York by an unsightly 19-3 score.

This season's New York-New Jersey Cup didn't go the Gothams way, as did last season's when they were declared winners of the tourney.  This season, it was the Mutuals Base Ball Club of New York who secured the Cup with a defeat of the Gothams, and an 8-7 victory over the Flemington Neshanocks.

The Flemington Neshanocks are suffering through a troubling start to their season.  After losing a pair of Opening Day games, the Elizabeth Resolutes handed them their third loss a week later.  They'd suffer yet a fourth loss against the Mutuals during last week's Cup play.

The Capital Base Ball Club of Columbus; established in 1998;  are  fine standing members of the Vintage Base Ball Association.  The original club itself, dates back to 1866.  Wickets tells me the Capitals were created by a former Gothams player who moved away.

I'd imagine, only an unyielding group of men dedicated to the art and craft of vintage base ball would travel as extensively as these gentlemen are renown for.  I'm delighted they are kicking off their 2012 season with a trip east to our parts of the woods here in New York.  Columbus opened up Saturday with a pair of matches versus the Brooklyn Atlantics Base Ball Club out in Long Island.  Unfortunately for them, they dropped both contests.  The Capitals Club have a quick turn around playing on consecutive days upon their arrival in Brooklyn Sunday.

Wear a sweater, bring a chair, pack a lunch, and come out the Old Stone House" at Washington Park on 3rd Street, between 4th and 5th Avenues.  The park is the modern day grounds where the Brooklyn Dodgers used to play before they built Ebbets Field prior to the 1912 season.  Come out Sunday, and the Neshanock Club, the Capital Club, and the home town Gothams, will take you to a time that precedes even the Brooklyn Dodgers.  Come see what the game really looked like in its infancy.  And come see them play in the place where Base Ball History was born; Brooklyn.

There's a loose yet interesting connection between the Capitals Base Ball Club of Columbus, the city of Brooklyn, and Base Ball history.  The following excerpt is from the Capitals' website regarding the team's Vintage history.  Their complete history is linked - HERE

Just 15 months after its founding, the Capitals played the Washington Nationals - one of the finest clubs in the nation at that time.  The Nationals were travelling on a six city, ten game tour with Columbus being the first stop on their "western" trek.  The match was held at City Park (now Schiller Park) and drew a sizable crowd.  The Nationals had assembled a strong club in 1867 prior to their monumental tour.  The starting “nine” consisted of pitchers Will Williams, considered by many as one of the swiftest pitchers in the country.  George Wright did the catching.  Wright was the best player not only on the Nationals, but at the time perhaps in the country.  The infield was manned by first baseman George Fletcher formerly of Excelsior Club of Brooklyn, second base was occupied by Ed Parker, third base was played by George Chadwick - today known as the "Father of Baseball" - was the pre-eminent baseball writer of his day and authority on the rules.  He is credited with developing the box score and promoting the game as our national pastime.  In addition to Chadwick, who was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1938, two other future Hall-of-Famers were in the field that day.

When Mr. Chadwick passed away, he was buried in Brooklyn's historic Green Wood Cemetery.  His plot is identified by a non-ostentatious white column topped with a marble baseball.  Mounted on one side of the column, is a diamond shaped plaque with the dedication.  On the left side, are crossed bats with a catchers mitt centered.  On the right, are crossed bats with a catcher's mask.  The immediate grounds are landscaped to form a baseball diamond with stone bases.  His plaque indeed reads "The Father of Baseball", as he was certainly the games first true historian.  This month marked the 104th year of Mr. Chadwick's passing.  Before that, he brilliantly chronicled the games roughly 60 year old history.  And that is why it is said, Brooklyn is where Base Ball History, was born.

To the Capitals Base Ball Club of Columbus, welcome to the city of Brooklyn.  And to Brad of the Flemington BBC, and to Wickets, Bugs, and Scratch and the rest of the home town Gothams BBC, welcome back!

Play Ball!



  1. Great post Mike of the history of the greatest game. We have some local Base Ball teams that play on historic Mackinac Island that I need to take the kids down to.
    I'll also be at the Hall of Fame in a couple of weeks, as well as some minor league game in Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse, and Binghampton!

  2. Sounds like someone is taking a tour of upper New York State. Hit me up when you head to Binghampton.


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