The Genesee Country Village and Museum in Mumford will host the 17th annual National Silver Ball Tournament, one of the nation’s largest vintage base ball tournaments, on Aug. 9-11.
Five men’s teams from the Silver Base Ball Park League will face seven teams from across the Midwest, Northeast, Mid-Atlantic and Canada. The tournament debuted in August 2003 with 12 clubs gathering at the museum.
Guests can watch three days of base ball matches, as discounts on admission will allow for multiple visits over the weekend. Starting at 5 p.m. on Aug. 9, the teams will play 24 matches using 1868 rules. These games will be played at several locations, from Silver Base Ball Park behind the Eastman Boyhood Home to the Great Meadow and South Field.
The two clubs with the best overall record will face off in the championship match, held at 2 p.m. on Aug. 11 at Silver Base Ball Park.
The museum’s ladies teams will play an exhibition game on Aug. 11 at the Great Meadow during the tournament.
This year’s visiting clubs include the Brandywine Ball Club (West Chester, Pennsylvania); Cleveland Blues; Diamond State BBC (Wilmington, Delaware); Great Black Swamp Frogs (Sylvania, Ohio); Northville Eclipse (Northville, Michigan); Talbot Fair Play (Talbot County, Maryland); and Woodstock Actives (Woodstock, Ontario, Canada).
Vintage base ball tries to re-create the sport as it was played in the mid to late 19th century. It differs from modern baseball in several key ways, starting with the 19th-century spelling using two words. Another difference is the absence of gloves, requiring players to use their bare hands to catch and field.
The hurler (pitcher) must keep within a designated area and deliver the ball underhand to the striker (batter). Pitches are not automatically called balls or strikes, but are called at the discretion of the umpire in accordance with the performance of the hurler or striker. Three balls are a walk and all players on base advance one base. The plate is a round metal disk, as it was in 1868.
Admission is half-price on Aug. 10-11. Little League players who attend the matches in uniform on Aug. 11 will be admitted for free. Visit gcv.org for information.