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Vintage base ball hits Glenwood

Post Independent Photo/Jim Noelker
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GLENWOOD SPRINGS – Dead strikers were everywhere at the Fourth Annual Vintage Base Ball Game in Glenwood Springs Saturday.

Dead strikers are now known as out batters.

The Glenwood Sluggers, Silt All-Stars and Colorado Territorial All-Stars met in the hot summer sun to compete in a vintage base ball festival. Each team had a chance to play the others in a series of three games.



They played in an old-time field covered in dry, dusty grass and weeds, just west of Glenwood Springs High School next to the Roaring Fork River.

Fans and players came out dressed in 19th Century clothes and followed the traditions of 19th Century base ball, right down to the lingo, which includes spelling base ball as two words.



“As a lady, I can’t say most of it,” said Amy Casey of Louisville about the words used in old-time base ball. She sat in the shade in a long blue dress and an old-time sun hat.

“I wouldn’t say something as scandalous as flapdoodle,” she said.

Flapdoodle means “that’s crazy.”

The players and the umpire also followed the old traditions of the game.

“Fine strike, Slim Jim,” said one team’s bench as their player hit the ball to the outfield.

When the ball was caught, the umpire declared, “Striker’s dead!”

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For most of the players and fans, the games were more about carrying on old time traditions than winning or losing.

“The best part is just kind of reliving the history,” said Silt All-Star captain John Nestor.

“I always said I was born 100 years late,” he said.

“I’ve always been a real big baseball history buff,” said Territorial All-Star Mike Baldwin of Littleton.

The players also enjoy getting out on the field with other players.

“For me it’s the camaraderie,” said Baldwin. “It’s a nice balance between competitiveness and fun.”

“We just try to keep the heart of true baseball alive and have fun,” said Nestor.

Part of the fun of the game is abiding by the mannerisms of the late 1800s.

“It’s what they call a gentleman’s game, so they have some manners,” said Casey.

“Stealing is legal, but is considered in bad taste,” said Silt All-Star Paul Taylor. “It’s a gentleman’s game, and a lot of fun.”

Other differences were evident between Saturday’s game and a modern game.

“They don’t use gloves, and the pitcher throws underhanded,” said Cindy Cochran, who helped organize the games and is the director of the Frontier Historical Museum.

“If the crowd catches a ball, the striker is out,” she said.

Each player who crossed home base had to ring a bell at the score keeper’s table and say, “Tally one run, please, miss.”

Runners also had to stay on base and were not allowed to lead off. The basemen, called base tenders, had to stay on the base as well.

The Glenwood and Silt teams were no push-overs, but the Territorial All-Stars had a bit more experience.

“We’re hanging in there,” said Mike Armijo of Glenwood of Silt’s game against the Territorial All-Stars.

“They know how to play this game,” he said.

Contact Ryan Graff: 945-8515, ext. 535

rgraff@postindependent.com


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