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Vintage Base Ball comes back

Jeff Caspersen
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado

GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colo. ” First-base tender? Short scout? Hurler? Behind? Cranks? Ballists?

Baseball (Base Ball) was a very different game back in the 1860s, but thanks to the Frontier Historical Society, Glenwood Springs residents can hop back in time ” minus the DeLorean ” and take in the game as it was in its infancy.

Free and open to the public, the Glenwood Sluggers and Yampah Stars will square off Friday in a vintage baseball showdown on the grassy field between Glenwood Springs High School and the Roaring Fork River. The first pitch is slated for roughly 6 p.m.



Everything about the game will be old school, from the uniforms ” blue jeans, suspenders, shirts and hats ” to the equipment ” wooden bats, lighter, softer balls than are used today and no mitts or gloves.

Those in attendance will also notice slightly different conduct than seen at present-day games. Fans, referred to as cranks back in the 1800s, and umpires are allowed to accept bribes from players, known back then as ballists.



Fans were an integral part of the game back then. Balls caught by cranks in the air or on a hop ” even balls landing on cooperative fans’ blankets ” are ruled outs, and ballists were fully expected to compensate helpful fans for their efforts.

Just imagine Barry Bonds offering up a tip for a crank’s assistance. Yeah right.

Oh, and for the record, a first-base tender is the modern-day equivalent of a first baseman. A short scout is much like a shortstop. Hurler is the old-time word for pitcher, as behind is the former word for catcher.


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