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Vintage Base Ball was center stage this past Sunday at Washington Park as part of a greater 19th Century style exhibition hosted by the historic Old Stone House in Brooklyn.
NYC's vintage home team, the Gothams Base Ball Club of New York, and the Flemington Neshanock Base Ball Club from New Jersey returned to the Borough of Kings, and this time were accompanied by the Capitals Base Ball Club of Columbus, who travelled from Ohio to the Empire State for a weekend of round robin competition.
The Capitals opened their 2012 season at the historic Smithtown Grounds in Long Island this past Saturday against the Brooklyn Atlantics Base Ball Club, where they dropped a pair of matches to the defending Mid-Atlantic champs. Afterwards, it was back to their carriages for the trip into Brooklyn.
Columbus club member, Bandit, expressed his displeasure with Saturday's inauspicious start to the team's season against the ABBC. After witnessing their craftsmanship this past Sunday, I'd say his dismay was justified, for the Capital Base Ball Club came within one superior throw by Flemington's left fielder of sweeping the day. They are very capable competitors indeed.
THE CAPITALS BASE BALL CLUB of COLUMBUS, OHIO
Front Row; left to right, I met "Too Far" Nick, "One Hand" Kevin, and "Bandit" Michael
In the opening game of the day, the Gothams suffered a humbling defeat to the club from Ohio. Columbus put on a fine display in their first victory, coming away with a well earned reward for a long journey east. The Big Apple's home team was undone in this contest by a count of twenty-three aces to six.
In Columbus' second game against the Flemington Neshanock BBC, the Capitals came roaring back to tie the match at eight aces all, heading into the final frame. Flemington scored one time in the top of the ninth to make it a 9-8 game. Columbus tried mounting yet another comeback and would have tied the game if not for a brilliant throw from Flemington's left fielder to nail the tying ace at home. And only a perfect throw would have sufficed. As a spectator, it was an exciting way to end the match. Perhaps for the Capitals, not so much. However, their resolve and gamesmanship will never come into question here in Brooklyn.
As the clubs played, Bandit's wife, a former player herself, was gracious enough to talk Capitals Base Ball with me. Wickets of the Gothams, already informed me a former member of the Gothams moved to Ohio and founded the Capitals Base Ball Club back in 1998. Bandit's better half confirmed that and expanded the story for me. It was a gentleman named Charlie who moved to Ohio and founded the team. He went by the nickname of LEFTY, but has since retired from the game. He now devotes his time to the company he started out of his garage. For Lefty also happens to be the founder of the Phoenix Bats Company, hailing out of Plain City, Ohio.
It was also my good pleasure to meet TOO FAR and ONE HAND. Too Far is pictured (left) manning his position at third base. To the Capitals Base Ball Club, in truth, it was a pleasure to meet you all. I hope you enjoyed the rest of your stay in our little village, and all arrived back home safely. May we meet again and thank you for travelling and participating in a fine day of Vintage Base Ball in Brooklyn.
Game One Final:
New York 6
GAME TWO FINAL:
In local matters, Wickets and the Gotham Club have had better days. They were lacking a few regular players. Their labor shortage cost them, as the Gothams earned no victories Sunday. The outcome of their first contest against the Capitals was one they might rather forget. That is, until they went down in similar fashion to the Club from Flemington. Losers of two and with spirits down, Bugs stayed positive and expressed excitement regarding the Gothams' home opener on historic Governors Island this coming weekend. Governors Island and Vintage Base Ball seem like a perfect fit. The backdrop of the NYC skyline should be spectacular.
...And for their efforts this past Sunday, that's how the Flemington Neshanock Base Ball Club's play should be characterized - Spectacular - as in the spectacular throw Neshanock left fielder PEACHES unleashed towards home plate from back near the Old Stone House in deep left, to thwart Columbus' would be tying ace in the bottom of the ninth inning and thereby preserving Flemington's first victory Sunday. It was also their second consecutive win of the season. In the week prior at the NY/NJ Cup, they gained their first win of the season over the Manetto Hill Surprise BBC.
Peaches prepares to strike Bugs' incoming pitch.
With a mighty swing, he delivered a souvenir upon the Old Stone House festivities
beyond left field.
In the final match to be played Sunday afternoon, Flemington went on to win their third straight game of the season; this time over the local Gothams. MELKY was the winning hurler against New York. Melky was a formidable striker as well, batting 4 for 5 against Bugs and the Gothams. As mentioned, there was superlative play in left from Peaches. But Illinois over at first base demonstrated soft and sure hands all day as well. In all, the Neshanock Club won the day in convincing fashion indeed.
Sunday's Neshanock double-threat player, Melky, glares at Wickets after the Gotham shortstop plated one of the few aces scored against Flemington's hurler in Game Three.
First Baseman - "Illinois" - Flemington BBC
Flemington's official scorekeeper is John "Mr. New Jersey" Zinn. In his possession is the Neshanock score book. It is THE score book. Contained there-in, is a replica of the original score ledger invented by Henry Chadwick, who is known as one of the Fathers of Baseball. Mr. Chadwick was the 19th Century's preeminent chronicler of Base Ball and its history. The Flemington Neshanock ledger is indeed Mr. Chadwick's creation. And to be quite honest with you, I was fascinated by it all day long.
The bottom of the score ledger reads -
"Entered according to Act of Congress, in year 1868, by Henry Chadwick...."
Read more about Henry Chadwick, his link in history with the Capitals Base Ball Club, and view his elaborate resting place in Brooklyn's Greenwood Cemetery - Here.
With that said, this seems like a good way to end this post. That's all she wrote. Thank you Gothams, and Flemington, and thank you Columbus for coming out to Brooklyn and playing the greatest game in the world, in the place where Base Ball history was born.
Included in the picture below, is Kim, Director of the Old Stone House.
And on the far right dressed in his blue jacket, is "Mr. New Jersey" - John Zinn.