* gloveless division
Did you think meaningful games were over because of the Reds recent collapse? Well, think again because Saturday there will be meaningful base ball played at Heritage Village in Sharon Woods Park in beautiful downtown Sharonville, OH at 3 p.m. You will be stepping back in time to 1869 to see the old rivals the Cincinnati Buckeyes do battle against the champion Cincinnati Red Stockings (weather permitting). This is not only for bragging rights but this is for the Trophy Ball.
Back in the 1850s and 1860s, base ball (it was spelled like that then as was short stop) did not have leagues as we know it today. These teams consisted of amateurs who played base ball for fun when they weren't working their regular jobs. After the matches the winning team would receive the ball that was used during the match and put it in their trophy case. You can see an actual trophy ball from 1869 at the Reds Hall of Fame and Museum.
This year the Red Stockings come into the penultimate match with a 3-8-1 record. The Buckeyes are sporting a 19-5-2 record despite having yours truly as a team member. Oddsmakers have the Buckeyes as a 8-5 favorite but the Red Stockings have a 3-2 record in these matches and are the current holders of the Trophy Ball.
Some of the differences between todays game and the one we play are that we do not use gloves. The ball is somewhat larger and a little more spongier. However a line drive caught incorrectly can result in a broken or dislocated finger(s). There will only be one umpire and he will be decked out in regular clothes from that period. Vintage base ball players play as gentlemen. Ballists do not spit, swear or argue. However, they are only human and do slip up. Those who do will be fined by the umpire at least $.25. Ballists treat the other team with respect and will go so far as to congratulate an opposing player on a nice catch or a well struck ball.
If you have a little time on Saturday afternoon, come out and see how the game we all love used to be played. If you have questions, ask a player and most of them will be able to answer them for you.