Trap Ball at Fort Phoenix

We enjoyed much better weather this weekend. Well, Saturday we had better weather. A bit cool but not cold enough to prevent ball playing. Remember dear reader, folks played ball as late in the season as Thanksgiving. And that was with out the aid of gloves and throwing the ball at a runner to record an out.

I headed out to Fort Phoenix in Fairhaven with my daughter to meet up with the Fairhaven Village Militia. They had set up an encampment representing life of the good people of Fairhaven circa 1778. I brought along the trusty Trap Ball set and convinced some of the younger revolutionaries to try their hand at the game. They caught on quick to the game and seemed to enjoy it. They hit the ball hard and drove it far. However, they were called to their patriotic duty and put down the bat and ball in favor of the musket and ball. Fortunately there was no serious alarm, only a call for a drill demonstration. Below are some images of the game of Trap Ball:

I have also come across something that suggests that Trap Ball was not just for children as many publications I have read suggests. In London Pleasure Gardens of the Eighteenth Century (Warwick Wroth, 1896) there are a couple of instances of mentions of Trap Ball play taking place. Pleasure gardens were areas open to the public for recreation. Page 278 of the volume shows an illustration of Trap Ball play depicting adults playing what appears to be a formal game complete with a scorer’s table and marked foul grounds. And take a close look at the batter. Is he calling his shot?

Trap Ball Played at the Black Prince, Newington Butts, 1788

Trap Ball Played at the Black Prince, Newington Butts, 1788

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