Vintage Baseball returns to the Festival Héritage Montcalm


SIDNEY — The captains line up and, hand in hand, work their way to the top of the bat. The captain whose hand reaches the top of the bat can choose if they want home court advantage and hit down the inning. And so begins a game of Vintage Baseball.

The Sidney Stars, a local Vintage Base Ball team, will challenge competitors at 35e Annual Heritage Festival, bringing back the customs and rules of the game played in the 1860s. Games will begin at 9 a.m. and continue until 2:30 p.m. on August 6 at the Montcalm Heritage Village on the Sidney campus of Montcalm Community College.

Joe “Crash” Davis, in his first year managing Stars Base Ball Club, explained the game.

“Vintage Base Ball is played using the original rules and equipment from when the game was invented in the 1860s. Many of the rules and conditions are completely different from the modern game we see today,” Davis said. “For example, a fly ball in the Vintage game can be caught on a jump and still be an out. Infielders must play one step from their base with the exception of the shortstop who can step out. position it where it wants.

Some of these terms are pitcher instead of pitcher, forward instead of batter, and baseman instead of infielder.

The game started around 1849 and started to gain popularity. When the Civil War began and healthy young men had left to fight, it slowed down, only to gain popularity once again as the soldiers returned. During this time, many Vintage Base Ball clubs were formed.

Some of the major differences between Vintage games and games played today are the use of wooden bats, the lack of gloves, and the absence of a referee.

In Vintage Base Ball, the pitcher throws underhand, with the primary objective of putting the ball in play. He pitches until the offensive player gets a hit. There are no strikes, balls and four fouls do not count as an out.

The only strikeout is if the player swings and misses on three pitches.

“We’re looking for new players because a lot of our guys are getting older and deciding to retire,” Davis said. “We play in several tournaments throughout the year. We have started a few more releases this year and hope people seeing us for the first time will want to join us in the future.

The Sidney Stars team was formed in 2004 by Ken Parker when he was an assistant instructor at Montcalm Community College and also played Vintage Base Ball with the Kent Base Ball Club. The volunteer team was initially made up of MCC students and other local residents.

“There is no fee to play with us. We have decided to recruit sponsors so that we do not have to charge a fee to play with us. We are proud to announce that Dependable Fire Protection will be sponsoring us for this season and that this money will help us pay for baseballs – of which a new Vintage ball is quite expensive – and hopefully new uniforms in the future,” says Davis.

“There are indeed other baseball teams that you can play on, but the difference with us is that we play a brand of ball that matches the way the game was originally intended to be played. relationships that you build in this game, not just with your team but with others, are hard to beat,” he said. “The game was meant to be played in a very gentlemanly way. “referees because all decisions were made by gentleman’s agreement. The two teams would line up and greet each other after the game, and it was even customary for the two teams to share a meal afterwards,” Davis said.

The current team has participated in a few Vintage Base Ball tournaments this summer, in Kalamazoo, Rockford, Sparta and Wayland.

The Stars would like to see cranks, also called fans, come out and support the team.

For the complete schedule of events or more information on the Montcalm Heritage Festival, visit on line.


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