Vintage base ball takes fans back in time

PINEY FLATS, Tenn. (WJHL)– A large crowd of excited and curious fans gathered at Rocky Mount State Historic Site Saturday, to be transported back to 1864.

Two teams from the Tennessee Association of Vintage Base Ball, the Knoxville Holstons, and the Emmett Machinists of Knoxville, played nine innings of 1864 base ball, wearing period-appropriate attire and following the rules and customs of the Civil War-era.

The base ball players (two words in the 1860’s), had to adhere to the rules and customs of 1864. Gloves were not yet used. A ball could be caught on the bounce for “one-hand dead” (an out), and an umpire oversaw the entire field, at times calling on members of the crowd to help determine close plays.2

“It is really authentic to 1864,” said Executive Director of Rocky Mount, Gary Walrath. “They are playing without gloves and with the proper ball. There is a company here in Tennessee that makes the bats to the specifications that would have been used in that time period.”

The event is the result of a partnership between the Rocky Mount Historical Association, the East Tennessee State University Department of History and the Tennessee Association of Vintage Base Ball.

Since its inaugural season in 2013, the TAOVBB has grown to include 10 vintage base ball clubs in Nashville, Knoxville and Chattanooga.

The event started at 11 a.m., with Congressman Phil Roe throwing the first pitch. There was no charge to attend, but donations were accepted.

Copyright 2016 WJHL. All rights reserved.

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