Vintage Base Ball has taken Middle Tennessee by storm, with”ballists” forming clubs in Brentwood, Franklin, Goodlettsville, as well as three in Nashville.
But if 1864 isn’t far enough back in sport history for you, the Tennessee Association of Vintage Base Ball is exploring ancestor sports Cricket and Rounders at The “Birth of Baseball,” on March 25 at Harrison Bay State Park northeast of Chattanooga.
Visitors will experience the evolution of the national pastime from cricket to rounders to base ball (spelled as two words in 1864) and will even have a chance to participate in the cricket and rounders matches. Period music by The Travelling Caudells will set the stage for the games, and concessions will be available from the state park. The event is co-organized by the Tennessee Association of Vintage Base Ball (TAOVBB), Friends of Harrison Bay State Park, and Tennessee State Parks.
“We hope everyone—families, baseball fans, history buffs—comes out to Harrison Bay State Park to share in this exciting program,” says Jeff “Skeeter” Wells, commissioner of the Tennessee Association of Vintage Base Ball. “It’s a unique opportunity to play, interact, and have fun with historic sports!”
The “Birth of Baseball” will begin at 10 a.m. with cricket master James Hamilton leading a participatory game of cricket. At 11 a.m., Ranger Adam Holt will lead the second participatory match, a game of rounders (or town ball). The event will conclude with the TAOVBB’s two Chattanooga teams — the Lightfoot Vintage Base Ball Club and the Mountain City Vintage Base Ball Club — squaring off in a 1 p.m. match of barehanded 1864 base ball umpired under the watchful eye of TAOVBB Commissioner “Skeeter” Wells.
The event will be staged in Harrison Bay State Park’s group camp, located on the left a quarter of a mile from the park’s entrance off Highway 58.
“Birth of Base Ball” Schedule:
10-11 a.m. Game of cricket led by cricket master James Hamilton (participatory game; visitors are invited to join)
11-11:30 a.m. 18th and 19th century music by The Travelling Caudells
11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Game of rounders led by Ranger Adam Holt (participatory game; visitors are invited to join)
12:30 p.m.-1 p.m. 18th and 19th century music by The Travelling Caudells
1 p.m. Vintage base ball match (1864 rules) between the Lightfoot Vintage Base Ball Club and the Mountain City Vintage Base Ball Club
Event details will be updated on the Friends of Harrison Bay State Park’s Facebook page. For more information about vintage base ball and the Tennessee Association of Vintage Base Ball, please visit www.
Want to see Vintage Base Ball closer to home? The Sam Davis Cup launches the Vintage Base Ball season on Sunday, Mar. 19, with games at 10 a.m., 11:30, 1:30 p.m. and 3 p.m. at the Historic Sam Davis House in Smyrna.
Games begin in earnest on weekends April 1 through Oct. 1 at historic sites across the region, including The Hermitage, Mansker’s Station, the Bicentennial Mall in Nashville, Ravenswood Mansion, Rippavilla Plantation, Carnton Plantation and many others.