Vintage Baseball Takes Us Back To The 1860s
NORTH MANKATO, MN
Baseball is America’s pastime.
Today that pastime was recreated with a vintage game featuring the Mankato Baltics and the Rum River Rovers from Anoka County.
“We do our best to play by rules of roughly 1860-1863 and try to bring the sport’s history back to life,” said Baltics Captain Robbie 'Dog House' Hoechst.
The Mankato Baltics have been a community team for many years now.
Playing by slightly different rules than the modern day game, people in the crowd were confused by a couple of plays throughout the game as many rules are slightly altered.
“People will notice it’s a bare handed game," explained Vintage Umpire Corky 'Goose' Gaskell. "It’s not necessarily a rule, it’s just that they played bare handed. A glove that we know today with a web that you use to catch a ball really didn’t become common until the 1880s. Any glove that you would see earlier than that would mostly be something that they use to protect an injured hand.”
The vintage game isn’t all old school however, as nicknames are a fun, mostly modern incorporation.
“Like I say in the 1860s it was no different than today, not every player has a nickname," said Goose. "If they did it was off of their name like Byron Buxton is ‘Buck’, stuff like that. There weren’t any ‘Big Papi’ type out of the ordinary names, there were a few, but it’s one of the fun things we do with the modern game is give everybody a nickname.”
If you are every thinking about going to a Baltics game, do it!
The team does its best to create a fun atmosphere at the ballpark.
“The Mankato Baltics do a really good job of keeping a family-friendly atmosphere," said Dog House. "We encourage people to come out and check out the equipment we’re using, if you want to take a swing or whatever we will work with you and we try to include kids and do whatever we can to make it family-friendly so people can come out and enjoy it.”
The vintage baseball game was part of the North Mankato Fun Days Festivities, giving attendees a different kind of event to attend.
--KEYC News 12