New Web Site for Vintage Ball

A vintage ball practice was held on Sunday and it was pretty successful. We had a very nice turn out and we will go at it again this Sunday. I have created a new site for the club at

I thought I should keep the ball club and the historical research separate from each other. I still plan to maintain this site as I do research. Things have been slow lately as I haven’t been able to break away to dig in to research. So check out the new site for updates on the club’s progress. It is named the Ironsides Base Ball Club after the original club of the same name that played in New Bedford in 1858.


Who wants to play ball?

There appears to be a reviving interest in getting a vintage base ball team together. If you are interested in playing please let me know. I would like to organize a get together soon so everyone can swing a heavy bat and check out the vintage base balls (They are much softer and will not kill your gloveless hand. I promise.)

Hopefully the photos below will inspire you to get involved. You don’t have to have a whole lot of playing experience or be in shape for that matter. I haven’t played baseball in 7 years and I am getting incredibly winded typing this.

I stole these images from Ray Shaw of the Newtown Sandy Hook of Connecticut. I hope he doesn’t mind. Check out more of his images:





Most of the vintage clubs out there have their schedules in place but I would like to get people together to get a feel for playing vintage ball and go from there. Drop me a line here or at info [at] Also, feel free to join us on our Facebook Group.

Talking Baseball at the Dighton Public Library

Dighton Public Library. Courtesy Dighton Public Library

Courtesy Dighton Public Library

Tommorow evening (November 5) at 6:30 I will be giving a presentation at the Dighton Public Library. I plan to talk a little bit about baseball history, vintage baseball and show some vintage baseball pics. Please come out to listen and find out more about playing vintage ball.

The library is located at 395 Main Street, off Route 138 in Dighton.

From Somerset:
Follow Rt. 138 through Somerset past the Dighton Town Line. Look for the Library sign at the corner of Main St. (blinking light). Take a left onto Main St. The library is half a mile on the left.

From the north:
Take Route 24 south to Exit 11 (Berkley/Dighton). Take a right off the exit ramp. Follow this road to Berkley Commons (first stop sign). Keep following to a second stop sign. At the fork in the road, stay right. Continue to the Berkley/Dighton Bridge (a one-lane bridge) and cross the bridge. You will pass Bristol County Agricultural School. Follow to the light at the intersection of Rt. 138. Take a left onto Rt. 138, pass the police station, and take a right at the blinking light onto Main St. The library is half a mile on the left.

From the south:
Take Route 24 north to Exit 10 (Assonet/Dighton). Take a right off the exit ramp. Continue straight until the road ends. Take a left at the stop sign. Continue to the Berkley/Dighton bridge (a one-lane bridge) and cross the bridge. You will pass Bristol County Agricultural School. Follow to the light at the intersection of Rt. 138. Take a left onto Rt. 138, pass the police station, and take a right at the blinking light onto Main St. The library is half a mile on the left.

Hingham Historical Society Baseball

Mike \'King\' Kelly, ca. 1891

Here is an event I thought I would pass on. It is not too local, just about an hour away. Maybe there is a local historical society that would like to make vintage base ball part of their program. Read on…


Lace up your sneakers!!  It’s time for Vintage Baseball with the Hingham Historical Society.


Come  to the opening bash of the Hingham Vintage Baseball season at the home of Mike “King” Kelly, Hingham’s 1880’s Hall of Famer at 507 Main Street, Saturday, May 31, 2008  6:00 to 10:00 P.M.  Who was King Kelly? At the height of his career in the 1880s, hitter and base-stealer extraordinaire Mike “King” Kelly was hired by the Boston Bean Eaters for the unheard of sum of $10,000. Kelly was then presented Kelly with a home on Main Street in Hingham, followed later that year by a carriage and two horses. To the bitter disappointment of Boston and Hingham fans, Kelly only stayed for a year before he left town to join the Cincinnati Reds. Even so, it was long enough for Kelly to make a colorful impression locally. He was known to promenade through town accompanied by his valet and a little pet monkey on his shoulder.


Historical Society members, and current owners of the “King” Kelly House, Moira and Cameron Congdon, will host this grand event. Originally built in the 1850s, the Kelly house contains many of the original fine details of its fine Neo-classical construction, in addition to Victorian-style furnishings that evoke “King” Kelly’s world. And no doubt keeping with the spirit of “King” Kelly, Moira confirms that the house “is a perfect place to have a party.”


And a party it will be. Revelers will enjoy live music, beer, barbecue, and a chance to meet sports writer and King Kelly biographer, Marty Appel, who will be on hand to sign copies of his book Slide, Kelly, Slide. Other attractions include raffles of sought-after prizes, including, Red Sox tickets, fresh lobsters, baseball artwork, hand-made bats and more.  “King” Kelly himself will be on hand to give baseball tips to the Historical Society’s vintage players, the Coopers and the Derbys. Tickets are $35 each, $40 the day of the event. Tickets will be sold at the Hingham Historical Society office at 30 North street, 11-3pm Tuesdays – Saturdays, Dot Gallery, 112 North Street, Mondays through Saturdays, Henneseys (aka Hingham Liquors) 118 North Street, and The Sub Galley, 39 Station Street. Check the Hingham Historical Society website for other sale locations,


Mike “King” Kelly, one of 19th century Hingham’s most colorful residents, was known as the “king” of baseball at the height of his career in the 1880s and 1890s. He was a superstar of the Victorian era:  his picture was seen on billboards, cigarette packs, posters, and baseball cards across America. At his acquisition by the Boston Beaneaters in 1887, he was given a house on Main Street.


 Although the press release does not mention it, there will be vintage base ball representatives there from the Boston Beaneaters. There may be a vintage game as well.

Vintage Base Ball Club Could be Reborn Later This Summer

After putting in a lot of time last year in to forming and organizing a vintage club I have decided against putting in additional time again this year in to trying it again. I put in a lot of time, effort and money (I don’t have) and in the end there were not quite enough dedicated to playing a full schedule. Did I mention that I put a lot of time in to it last year? On the plus side I have some cool vintage baseball bats, baseballs and a cap! Instead, this summer my wife will be setting up at the Rochester Farmers’ Market selling handcraft fabric children’s aprons, capes, dolls, etc. I will also attempt to make cloth baseballs made to the style of the 19th century lemon peel design to sell at the market. The first couple of ones I made are pretty sad but there is time for improvement.

The idea of putting together a vintage club is not completely dead. Mattapoisett is in the process of planning an annual historical festival, a scaled down version of the 150th anniversary celebration. Although vintage baseball is not mentioned in the Wanderer’s report of the Mattapoisett Board of Selectmen’s Meeting, I have been contacted by one of the event organizers about including vintage baseball as part of the activities. I don’t have all of the details yet but when I do I will post them here.

My hope is that this will be a good place to reorganize plans for a vintage ball team. Most likely the club’s name will be changed from the Ironsides to something based on a historic Mattapoisett town team. Should this work out, the club could play at other local events and could expand in to playing other vintage clubs. And maybe, just maybe get those cool reproduction uniforms.

If anyone is interested in playing in this event, please contact me.

Ironsides play ball! Ironsides on YouTube!

Due to a last minute cancellation by the Cornish Game Hens of Providence, the Ironsides Base Ball Club was asked to fill in for a match game against the Bristol Blues in picturesque South Dartmouth on Saturday. Unfortunately for many members of the Ironsides BBC the announcement to join the game was too short of a notice to attend the games. However, representing the Ironsides along with me were Judy Wallace and Dave Gries along with newcomers Rick Crosby and Steve Rezendes.

Game one started at approximately 1:00 and was played in the style played in the year 1886. Seven balls was all that was needed for a batter to receive a free pass to first base and a hit batters only reward was to stand at home plate and take another shot at hitting. Only one batter was hit during the game (and lived to tell about it) and no one received a free pass via a called 7th ball. Batters were able to call for the pitcher to throw a high or low pitch. On the field the players, with the exception of the catcher, played with out the aid of a gloved hand.

The Ironsides were split up for the first game with the members of the club playing on opposing sides. Steve Rezendes played short stop on a team consisting of three players from the Game Hens, employees from Concordia Company and a Bristol Blue or two. Rick Crosby and I played on the team that was made up mostly of the Bristol Blues. Rick played left field and I had the misfortune of being stuck in right field were I saw no action.

A close seven inning game was played with the scored was tied at 1-1 going in to the 7th. The Bristol Blues scored a run in the 7th to pull off a 2-1 victory.

The second game was started after a lengthy break due to good food, drink and magic bars. The rules of 1861 were played for the second game. Again, the Ironsides were split up for the game. Rick and I played with the Game Hens and some Blues. Rick was stationed at third and I was at second. Judy and Dave played in the second game at left field and second base respectively.

Steve had to leave after the first game and I had to leave during the progress of the second game. The report is that the club with the majority of Blues lost the match in 8 innings of play by a score of 8-4. Everyone played well and the addition of Steve and Rick is a hopeful sign that the Ironsides can come together with a full squad to play on a regular basis for next season.

A record of hits and runs made by the players was not kept for the game. The innings and score was kept by the Bristol Blues’ faithful umpire. The games greatly contributed to the moral improvement of the Ironsides who have had to find other forms of entertainment to keep them occupied while not playing.

Thanks to Stuart MacGregor and John Simmons for inviting us out and a thanks to Concordia for providing the play ground and refreshments.

Ironsides ballist Judy Wallace reported a video is circulating on YouTube. It is a short (2 minute) video of the Mattapoisett 150th game with the Bristol Blues and Essex Base Ball Club. The video says the game was a circa 1855 game. It was actually 1861 rules we played. And the Bristol Breakers is actually the Blues misidentified. Check it out:  (Click on the link. The embedded video does not work).