Learn to play 19th-century style 'base ball'

  • On Sunday, June 30, the McHenry County "Independants" will play the first of two baseball games this season in proper 19th-century fashion.

    On Sunday, June 30, the McHenry County "Independants" will play the first of two baseball games this season in proper 19th-century fashion. Courtesy of McHenry County Historical Society

 
 
Updated 6/6/2019 10:39 AM

Baseball has changed a lot since it was played in 1859. But it's still possible to catch up on the original lingo and rules that first made the game great.

The McHenry County Historical Society's "club nine," the McHenry County "Independants," will play the first of two games this season starting at 2 p.m. Sunday, June 30, at Algonquin Road Elementary School, 975 Algonquin Road in Fox River Grove, against the Chicago Salmon.

 

A second "match" begins at 3 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 24, in Grayslake.

Prospective players must be fit enough to run the bases (even slowly) and be able to make the games.

Both events are free.

This type of Civil War-era baseball, or "base ball" as it was called, differed radically from today's rules. Players did not use gloves. A ball caught on the first bounce was considered an out, and a ball was considered fair or foul based solely on where it first touched the ground.

A practice is slated for 10 a.m. Saturday, June 22, in Prairie Grove's Village Hall Park at Barreville and Ames roads. It offers an opportunity for interested people to test drive the club and see if it is right for them.

Those interested in learning more should contact historical society administrator Kurt Begalka at (815) 923-2267 or email kurt@mchenrycountyhistory.org.

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