(Posted July 29, 2022)
By Kristy Zurbrick, Madison Editor
In the mid-19th century, baseball was “base ball,” pitches were delivered underhand, players didn’t wear gloves, and articles of clothing, such as caps, could not be used to field the ball.
A chance to see these rules from 1860 in action is coming to Madison County. The Madison County Historical Society is hosting a game in which the Ohio Village Muffins and Diamonds will play members of the Madison County Area Realty Association.
The fun is slated for Aug. 21 at 2 p.m. on the historical society grounds, 260 E. High St., London. The event is a fundraiser for the historical society; admission is a donation per car. Spectators are welcome to bring chairs to sit and enjoy the game.
The Ohio Village Muffins (a men’s team) and the Ohio Village Diamonds (a women’s team) are part of the Ohio History Connection. The players are sports history enthusiasts who dress in uniforms of the era and play exhibition games against community teams and other vintage teams around and outside of Ohio. A combined team of men and women will play at the Aug. 21 event in London.
“The Muffins have been out to our kids’ camp several times. They teach kids how to play historic base ball. The kids enjoy it and the players seem to enjoy it, so we talked about doing something for the whole community,” said Ned DeCamp, Madison County Historical Society museum director.
When tasked with coming up with a community team to serve as opponents, historical society members thought of the realty association.
Each year, the association chooses a project for their Realtor Care Day. Last year, they did a spring cleanup at the historical society grounds and provided the organization with a new sign for the Second Street entrance to the grounds.
“We’re really excited to participate. I think it will be a great community event and, hopefully, will bring people out to the Historical Society,” said Erika Watkinson, president of the Madison County Area Realty Association.
Ohio Village Muffins/Diamonds will supply the realty team with uniforms and give them a crash course in 1860s base ball. They also will provide information to spectators and answer questions before, during and after the game.
“They’re very good at explaining what’s going on–the rules, the balls, the bats, and the whole nine yards,” DeCamp said.
Proceeds from the event will go toward general upkeep and maintenance of the museum and grounds.
Kids’ camp and Pioneer Days
In addition to the vintage base ball game, the Madison County Historical Society has two other upcoming events.
The annual Pioneer Camp for second- and third-graders is set for 8:30 to 11:30 a.m. Sept. 24. Anyone is welcome, regardless of residency. The cost is $30. Registration forms are available at the museum, 260 E. High St., London. Museum hours are 1-4 p.m. Sundays and Wednesdays. The deadline to sign up is Aug. 31.
Campers take part in educational and hands-on activities at stations set up throughout the grounds. Gem-mining and a blacksmith demonstration are among the activities. Participants will be introduced to the museum and all of the features on the grounds, including the Kitchen House log cabin, Jonathan Alder’s cabin, the school house, the farm barn, and the rail car. Each child will receive a t-shirt and a dinner bell made by the blacksmith, as well as take home the gems they mine.
The camp is open to 40 children. Organizer Annette Rinesmith said spots fill up quickly for the popular program.
Also coming up are the historical society’s annual Pioneer Days set for Sept. 24 (after the kids’ camp) and Sept. 25. Open to the general public, the event includes food, live music, demonstrations, displays, and activities, including axe throwing.
For more information about the vintage base ball game, children’s camp or Pioneer Days, call the museum at (740) 852-2977.