“Hip, Hip, Huzzah” echoed through the village with the annual World Tournament of Historic Base Ball. It was 1867 all over again as underhand pitches fairly met strikers at the plate, and gloveless fielders caught brown leather-covered balls.
The Saginaw Old Golds took home the trophy by winning the championship matchup, 33-12, over the strong-hitting Columbus Capitals. The annual tournament features Historic Base Ball played by the rules of 1867 as set down in Haney’s Base Ball Book of Reference. That same year, Detroit hosted 24 clubs in the World’s Base Ball Tournament.
Sixteen ball clubs from Michigan, Ohio and Indiana took turns in the field and with the bat in what proved to be an exciting two full days of base ball. Here’s a complete list of all the teams that participated and the awards given.
Above photo, left, by Scott Callejah
Since the balls are rubber that is wrapped in yarn and covered with leather, Saturday’s rain added some weight and some challenges. But the rain didn’t dampen the fun, as one player noted, “We were all playing with the same ball.” As much as the tournament is about base ball, it is about fun.
As well as team and player awards – a special award went to a dedicated fan, and the future of Historic Base Ball was recognized with cheers.
Award-winning teams and individuals take home trophies made in Greenfield Village’s Pottery Shop.
Although they didn’t receive trophies, the Welkin and the Bonneyville Millers clubs didn’t go home empty handed. The two teams each were presented a bag of peanuts: The same prize awarded in 1867 for the team with the least number of tournament wins.
By most accounts, this was the largest crowd to gather for the World Tournament of Historic Base Ball championship event. It’s the tournament’s 10th year at Greenfield Village.
It was competitive but gentlemanly play, and it was hard to find a player (or fan) who wasn’t smiling.
Related: The historic base ball bandwagon