Sunday, October 13, 2013

Vintage Base Ball At The Old Stone House: Gothams Take Two From Flemington

First, welcome back to the Borough of Kings gentlemen, and thank you for another fine display.  It was good seeing you all once again, healthy and spry.  And thank you Kim, for your efforts in  making the day possible yet again.

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Gotham Base Ball Club of New York: Ghosts of 1864 Come Back To Brooklyn; Sweep Pair From Flemington Neshanock Base Ball Club.

The ghosts of 19th Century Base Ball returned to the Old Stone House in Brooklyn today.  New York City's own Gotham Base Ball Club hosted the Flemington Neshanock Base Ball Club Saturday for two matches at the adjoining historic Washington Park ball field.

The Gothams entered their final series of the 2013 season looking to improve upon their (20-20) .500 record, while Flemington's season winds down later this month.  In speaking with Mr. "Brooklyn" Shaw of the Neshanocks before the day's action, he gleamed over the team's 22-19 record this season, as they've struggled in recent years to stay above the .500 mark.  Always the gentleman, he had nothing but complimentary words for his noticeably younger opponents.

Unfortunately for the visitors from New Jersey, and to the delight of Gotham, the home team did not disappoint, taking both contests from the Neshanock club.  The day's first match was a markedly one-sided affair, while the second session was a far closer matter.

THUMBS (l.) of Flemington and BUGS (r.) of the Gothams
commence the day's activities with the pre-match Bat-Toss.
The Flemington Neshanock scorebook is an exact (and fascinating) replica of Henry Chadwick's original ledger, reproduced with permission of course.  Mr. Chadwick is considered to be one of the "Fathers of Baseball" - a sportswriter, baseball's first historian, first statistician, creator of the boxscore and first scoring system.  He rests in Brooklyn's landmark Green Wood Cemetery.  His head stone is a pillar artfully decorated with base ball equipment of the period, while the plot itself outlines a base ball diamond, replete with stone bases.
Bugs (top) was today's pitcher for New York.  After taking his warm-ups, Peaches (bottom left) of the Neshanock was the first striker to oppose him.  Peaches leaves his bat at the feet of Brooklyn and Gotham catcher Scratch (bottom right), as they admire his handy work.

The Gothams jumped out to a quick 3-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning.  Their shortstop, Lightning, had himself a rather exceptional afternoon, pacing the Gothams throughout.  Pictured below, he led-off New York's first at-bat with a well struck base hit to left.  He went on to thieve both second and third base.
Scratch (below left) then stepped in,
and delivered Lightning (below right) from third with the afternoon's first run.

The Gothams went on to win the first contest by a lopsided 14-5 final score.
In between games, Lightning and Brooklyn shared time
discussing the myth of Abner Doubleday.

The second match was a more tightly contested affair, although, it did not pass without controversy.  However, not enough so that both teams could not come together and discuss matters like gentlemen.

Flemington tried mounting one last comeback against the Gothams, however, Bugs was especially sharp this day, hurling a 4-0 white washing of the visitors.  He turned in a manly effort, pitching in excess of fifteen innings over the two matches.
The Neshanock Base Ball Club still gets to leave town, albeit only one game over the .500 mark.  Even Brooklyn admitted, when the Gothams have the skilled Scratch, and the youthful Collector, Lightning, and few others on the field, they're pretty hard to beat.
Speaking of which, Wickets was a glaring Gothams no-show this afternoon.  Word is New York's regular shortstop caught a case of the flu - as in he flew to the Dominican Republic!  Very poor!  Otherwise, his whereabouts are somewhat unknown.  Attempts to call him have failed - just like he failed his team today.  It is wildly being suspected he's either in cahoots with Charlie Sheen to take over the world, or he malingered himself into an early vacation.  If and when Wickets returns, he will definitely have a lot of 'splaining to do!  Or maybe, he should stay there, as the team's kangaroo court could very well crash down upon him like the Spanish Inquisition.
Circling back to Flemington, their next contest will be played down in Maryland against the Elkton Eclipse.  They will then wrap up their season in New Jersey against the Hoboken Nine. 
With today's sweep, the Gothams improved their record, and end their regular season with a 22-20 mark..., or so they think.  After all, this is 1860's record keeping we're talking about.   All things considered, Bugs believes the 2013 season was a very positive campaign.  He also expressed hope the club can continue playing home games on Governor's Island, and travel out to Gettysburg next season.
The final
Huzzah!  Huzzah!  Huzzah!

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Did You Know?
Before the modern era of concussions, there was what they call Catcher's Head.
Numerous catchers ended up in mental asylums after being struck in the head by too many bats, baseballs, and the like.  Eventually, more observant minds started making the correlation regarding head injuries.  Obviously, catchers were the first players to use gloves.  The standard catchers mask, shin guards and chest protector would soon follow.




  1. Great pics! The kids and I made it to one Base Ball game last summer, but couldn't fit one in this year. They are a lot of fun, though.

    1. Always awesome to have you on the Trolley Mike! I visited your site recently and the kids look great!! My regards to all. Keep up the great work.


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