Tourism and Ohio Festivals
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Vintage Baseball

Ohio Cup
Vintage Baseball Festival Ohio Village

Each Labor Day weekend, the Ohio Village Muffins host The Ohio Cup, the premier vintage baseball festival. The Ohio Cup features 30 teams from around Ohio and the Midwest including Michigan, Indiana, Illinois, Minnesota, Missouri, New York and Pennsylvania. The two day event features 1860 rules and each team plays 3 games per day in a timed event on 4 different fields, including the historic Ohio Village.

The Ohio Cup is the largest gathering of vintage base ball teams in the country and they came together for one reason: to celebrate America’s pastime the way it was originally played.

Vintage Baseball

They arrived in Columbus from all four corners of the State and beyond. They where from hometowns like Akron, Cincinnati, Forest City and Sylvania. Others arrive from St. Louis, Indianapolis and even as far away as Colorado making this the largest gathering of vintage base ball clubs in the country.

Vintage Baseball OHio

For two days, they play the game without special equipment other than a ball and a bat and club names like the St. Louis Browns, Deep River Grinders, Indianapolis Blues, the Sylvania Black Swamp Frogs, Columbus Capitals, Ohio Village Muffins and the Sumerset Frost Sons of Thunder to name a few. Each team sports period uniforms reflective of their enchanting names.

2007 Vintage Baseball Games-- Columbus

Their shirts show no sponsorship yet each of the players is representing a time when sportsmanship and integrity ruled the game. It is known as vintage baseball. It is easy to follow since there are but 33 rules and historic interpreters wander about adding color and answering all questions. What better way to slow down a busy life than to enjoy a beautiful day in Ohio watching baseball.

1860s Baseball

The origins of the game are a bit murky but we do know that it was being played in the United States prior to the Civil War, mostly on the eastern coast by well-to-do gentlemen. During the war, baseball became a popular game played by both sides, and especially in some of the prisoner of war camps where there was little else to do during the drudgery and boredom of a POW camp. There would often be 1000s of men confined to a small space and the game gave prisoners something to look forward to and even participate in during the warmer months. Towards the end of the war however, the POW camps became more problematic and baseball no longer provided the escape that it did earlier when surviving became the major motivation.

After the war when the camps were opened and the soldiers went home, they took with them the game. All it required was a rudimentary understanding of the rules (which varied from area to area), a ball and a piece of wood for a bat.

1860s Baseball Rule Variations

The rules while drastically different than today's game, were remarkably similar. The batter's goal was to hit the ball thrown underhanded by a pitcher and run through the various bases until he reached home plate without being called out by an umpire.

The umpire stood off to the side of a striker and made calls from the position. Strikers were not called unless the batter repeatedly refused to swing at good balls, but the batter had to be first warned. However, if a batter swung at a pitch and missed, that would count as a strike, and like today, 3 strikes and the batter would be out.

Innings were referred to as hands. Batters were called strikers. Bases were sometimes referred to as aces.

A struck ball may be caught on the fly or on the first bounce to put the striker out. Fielders may not use their hats or clothing to catch a ball, only their bare hands. A struck ball was always in play, no matter where it went. A runner could advance on any struck ball as long as it first landed inside the baselines. There was no batter's box, but the striker had to straddle a line running from home plate and either first base or third base.

Vintage Baseball in Ohio

Did you know...

The first professional baseball team in America was the Cincinnati Red Stockings and they began play in 1869. The first nationwide professional league was founded in 1871.

Baseball fans were shocked, then outraged when the president of the Red Stockings decided to pay his amateur players. The captain received a salary of $1400! The other players received between $600 - $100 each. After initiating this pay for play, game day tickets skyrocketed from 25 to 50 cents each, further angering Cincinnati baseball fans. That was is 1869. After the 1870 season, the Red Stockings were disbanded (later to re-emerge as the Cincinnati Reds). The reason for disbanding the team: the owner couldn't afford to pay the players' salaries— TV rights hadn't yet been awarded to help the owner out of his dilemma.