Old-fashioned hardball

A St. Croix Base Ball Club player swings at a pitch during a recent game. The St. Croixs host a day of vintage exhibition base ball matches played by 1860 rules from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday in Stillwater. (Photo courtesy of the Washington County Historical Society)

A St. Croix Base Ball Club player swings at a pitch during a recent game. The St. Croixs host a day of vintage exhibition base ball matches played by 1860 rules from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday in Stillwater. (Photo courtesy of the Washington County Historical Society)

The St. Croix Base Ball Club, a program of the Washington County Historical Society, holds vintage base ball exhibitions starting at 10 a.m. Saturday at the Old Athletic Field in Stillwater on corner of Orleans Street and Sixth Avenue.

This is the 16th year that the St. Croix Base Ball Club has hosted exhibitions of vintage base ball played by 1860 in Stillwater. Nearly 100 vintage base players will come to Stillwater and play base ball the way it was meant to be played.

Among the clubs showing their skills this season are the reigning state vintage base ball champions, the Saint Croix Base Ball Club of Stillwater, the Quicksteps, the Rochester Roosters, Arlington Greys, Rum River Rovers, Mankato Baltics and Afton Red Socks.

The differences of the 1860 game of base ball, spelled at the time as two words, are that the hitter is out if the ball is caught on the first bounce; the ball is in play where it hits the ground; fielders use no gloves; there’s no overrunning first base and the umpire calls only foul balls. The umpire can, he desires, fine on a player who curses, is “ungentlemanly” and for sweating too much in front of the crowd.

All matches are free and the public is encouraged to bring their lawn chairs and lunches and stay to watch how base ball was first played. These matches last only one hour each.

For more information about the matches or how to participate on the club, visit www.wchsmn.org or call 651-439-5956.

Schedule of matches:

10 a.m. Afton vs. Mankato

11 a.m. Rochester vs. Arlington

Noon Mankato vs. Rum River

1 p.m. Saint Croixs vs. Quicksteps

2 p.m. Arlington vs. Afton

3 p.m. Saint Croixs vs. Rochester

4 p.m. Rum River vs. Quicksteps

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