I spent all weekend (happily) watching vintage base ball. Victor hosted their largest festival this past weekend, Gold Rush Days, and part of the festivities this year was a vintage base ball tournament, based on late 1800s (1860s, 1870s) play. And yes, base ball was spelled as two separate words during that time.
There were four teams in the tournament. The hometown team, the Victor Miners, the Cripple Creek Gold Nuggets (rivals from the next town over), the Denver Blue Stockings, and the Central City Stars. The first game was Friday night, between the rivals Victor and Cripple Creek to kick everything off. Victor absolutely wiped the field with CC (29-11)! Victor was so much improved from last year, I was amazed. Saturday was chock full of games, non-stop from 9 am until 5 o’clock. Sunday was the championship game, between who else but Victor and Cripple Creek. I am proud to say that Victor took home the trophy. Huzzah, Victor Miners!!
The most exciting part of the vintage base ball games is the language they used. They had different terms for all of the positions, and even the equipment. And they had such fun insults, compliments, and exclamations! They also have different rules.
The idea is the same obviously, but some of the logistics are different. For example, the plays is considered out (or “dead” in their terms) if it is caught after one bounce. The pitcher (hurler) can only throw underhanded. And if you run past your intended base (bag), even after touching it, you are fair game to be tagged out.
The different names for the positions are so much fun! I kind of wish they still used them today. The pitcher is known as the hurler, the catcher is called the striker, and perhaps my MOST favorite is the catcher…aka the behind.
But the insults and exclamations and compliments are the most fun of all! Some of my favorite insults are Muffin and Milkboy. “Nice air-ball, Milkboy!” Compliments that I rather enjoyed were Hunky, Muckle, and Grant-Man. “Nicely struck, Grant-man!” And now for the exclamations and interjections. Stir those stumps! Put on the steam! (Both of those are meant to encourage the runner to hurry up and make it to the base before he’s thrown out.) Other favorites are Flapdoodle! Humbug! Blame my Buttons! Good Gravy! And of course, Go Tell It to the Marines! Oh, and you MUST yell “Huzzah!” to cheer on your favorite team; the more huzzahs the better!
If you ever get the chance to take in a vintage base ball game, definitely take advantage of it! It is a fun and relaxing to spend the afternoon (or even the whole day). And just think of all the fun things you’ll get to yell!
For it’s one, two, three strikes your out, at the old ball game!!!