Posts Tagged ‘Vintage Base Ball’

Babies Drop Two at George Ranch

October 27, 2013
Blind Toms and Vintage Teams

Blind Toms and Vintage Teams Play Ball in the Noon Day Sun!

The Houston Babies (0-2) dropped both games they played today at George Ranch, losing 9-5 and 5-2 to the Katy Combine in a DH dose of shellac. By the time a fresh version of the Boerne White Sox finally arrived from their abode near San Antonio, the Babies were done for the day, but Katy managed to patch together enough of a lineup to take them on in a single game. Boerne (1-0) blasted the worn out Katy (2-1) nine, 8-0, to become the only club on the day with a perfect record.

The Publisher, Editor, Writer, and Chief Bottle Washer of the  Pecan Park Eagle was a little under the weather and unable to attend today’s festivities, but our crack field reporter and beat writer, Mike McCroskey, who also bore the double-duty job of filling in for our cruising Babies mentor, Bob Dorrill, as the Babies Manager of the Day took us on as well. Do you think the Yankees ever could have gotten Joe Torre to both manage their club and write up the game stories too?

Thanks for all you do, Mr. McCroskey; you are a one in a million friend and fan of the grand old game.

Ladies and Gentlemen, settle back and enjoy our star reporter’s festival and game day report from George Ranch on Saturday, October 26, 2013.  By the way, Mr. McCroskey also took the pictures used here. All I did was the title and Photoshop work on the photos and the mechanical work of posting this wonderful (but also sad because we lost, but that’s baseball for you) report:



BY Mike McCroskey, Special Reporter for The Pecan Park Eagle

On a cool, crisp autumn day with a bright blue sunshine-filled sky overhead clustered with billowy white clouds, weather reminiscent of when the World Series games were played during the day, Texian days at the George Ranch welcomed Vintage baseball with a day made for baseball.  The Katy Combine and Houston Babies squared off at 10:00 A.M. to the delight of record attendance crowds.  The Babies, managed by first time manager Mike McCroskey, subbing for the vacationing Bob Dorill (somewhere upon a sea in the North Atlantic) were a little short-handed as many of the regulars failed to show.  However, many eager cranks got their first chance to experience the thrill of vintage baseball as a result.  The first call for volunteers found no shortage of willing participants.  The game day began, as game days should:  Both teams in the field, a short prayer remembering missing Departed Houston Baby, Larry Joe Miggins; and thanking our veterans. Then both teams came together in a group on the field, singing the Star Spangled Banner prior to the first pitch.

Bill Hale (far left) is a veteran Babies player in our George Ranch Field of Dreams.

Bill Hale (far left) is a veteran Babies player in our George Ranch Field of Dreams.

Brian Ketchum of Fort Worth, Texas started in center field and led off the Babies bottom of the first with a hit., later coming around to score the game’s first run on a solid double by Shortstop Mark Hudec.  He was joined by newcomer Tim Murphy, a guest of pitcher Bill Hale.  Tim started the game in left field and singled in his first at bat in the second inning, coming around to score on a 2 rbi single by Babies septuagenarian second baseman, Phil Holland.

The Katy Combine, however, were the masters of the big inning, scoring 7 runs in the second inning, which proved to be decisive in what ended in a 9-5 Katy victory.  Ira Liebman of the Sugar Land Skeeters, also, debuted in this game at first base, making several spectacular hustle plays after overcoming some early inning jitters.  We, also, had a couple of Katy players filling in for the Babies in the outfield, scoring one of the Babies’ runs.  And speaking of good fielding, the Babies turned not one , but two 6-4-3 double plays in what turned into a late inning defensive battle.

Vintage Ball is Our Reminder that Baseball is Forever.

Vintage Ball is Our Reminder that Baseball is Forever.

Tom Hull led the Katy Combine, scoring a run in all 3 of his at bats in the 5 inning game.  His 10-year old daughter, Gracie, pinch ran for McCroskey in a failed pinch hit appearance.  Speedy Meghan McCroskey was absent this day due to excessive homecoming week commitments.

Game 2, found the Babies short a couple of more players.  Brent Hopkins of Pearland started at shortstop, and his 10-year old son Blake started in the outfield.  Young Blake got on base twice and scored one of the Babies 2 runs.  Tim Mahoney played his second game in the outfield, and Alex Jimenez, literally walked on to the field and reached base in each of his 2 at bats in this quickly played 5 inning game.  Gracie Hull started in left field and played the entire game.

The Combine were again the masters of the big inning, scoring 5 runs in the bottom of the first which held up for a 5-2 victory.  Tom Flores led the Combine with a pair of hits in his only 2 at bats, scoring the first run in the big 5 run first.  The first of the Boerne White Sox players began showing up in the middle of this game.

The horizons of baseball are always a possible reach in our sandlot brains. All it takes to get there is the long ball of never giving up on your dreams.

The horizons of baseball are always a possible reach in our sandlot brains. All it takes to get there is the long ball of never giving up on your dreams.

By this time, players had worked up quite an appetite, and the George Ranch treated all to a delicious home-made chili and Frito dish that was eagerly consumed by most.  Seconds were had by many and more of the Babies left.  However, the rest of the Boerne White Sox arrived and game 3 of the set was soon underway.  It was agreed that this would be a 7 inning affair as it was the last game of the day.  Babies first baseman, Ira Liebman, started at 3rd for the Combine as they were one man short at game time.

We don't care if we never get back!

We don’t care if we never get back!

The White Sox had come a long way to play and were on their game this afternoon.  The chili laden Combine could not get it going against the Boerne nine, who repeatedly made sparkling fielding plays in what resulted in an 8-0 shutout win for the Sox.  Several players had pulled muscles, and little Gracie Hull made about 8 pinch running appearances in this game, never once reaching first.  She did, however, score a run after going in to pinch run for a Boerne player at third base.
The ultimate, “rub salt in your wound” play came on the game’s final at bat.  Combine third baseman Dave Flores hit a sharp grounder back to the Boerne pitcher known as Sparty.  Sparty had pulled a hamstring muscle earlier and Gracie had run for him in his last 3 at bats.  Anyway, this time, Sparty fielded the ball, and then hopped, one-legged, to first base for an unassisted putout on Dave, as the cranks and teams, oohed, awwed, and laughed!

Quite an “in-your-face” ending; and quite a day for vintage baseball.

Vintage Base Ball: It's the place where art and science, faith and fact, all come together. It is also the childhood fire in your heart that never left you, even when your childhood did.

Vintage Base Ball: It’s the place where art and science, faith and fact, all come together. It is also the childhood fire in your heart that never left you, even when your childhood did.


“Save the Astrodome. ~ Give new life to the Eighth Wonder of the World. ~ Vote Yes on Harris County Proposition 2.”

“Save the Astrodome. ~ Give new life to the Eighth Wonder of the World. ~ Vote Yes on Harris County Proposition 2.”

Sumner Hunnewell: Our Vintage Guy in St. Louis

June 5, 2013
Sumner Hunnewell St. Louis Perfectos

Sumner “Moose” Hunnewell
St. Louis Perfectos

Every now and then I just like to write about some of the people who make life in our little close-at-hand and extended family baseball culture so much fun. These are the people who make life on these diamonds of the mind, body, and soul so much fun. I know a bunch of folks who fit this description, but the person I have in mind today is a friend in St. Louis whom I’ve known for several years now through our shared membership in the St. Louis Browns Historical Society and some work he did for Jimmy Wynn and me when we were writing the Astro Icon’s autobiography, “Toy Cannon”.

Sumner Hunnewell was our index creator – and what a great job he did. He did such a great job, in fact, that he’s now back at work with our SABR editorial team as the index creator for our 2014 planned publication, “Houston Baseball, The Early Years: 1861-1961”.

A native of Portland, Maine, Sumner and his family moved to Arnold, Missouri in the Greater St. Louis Area several years ago and quickly settled into the informed St. Louis Cardinal mode of following baseball as though they were either the club’s general manager or the “effin'” (stands for efficacious) Commissioner of Baseball. “Cardinal mode” also means that those who have it are able to think, hear, watch, feel, taste, and talk baseball without coming off as someone who is a blow-hard know-it-all. These people are not arrogant. They are just solid at the seams – and they have no need to prove themselves to anyone.

We have people like Sumner in Houston too. St. Louis just seems to have more. Maybe that’s because the die-hard Cardinal baseball fans simply don’t waste their off-season time on the NFL Rams or the NBA Anybodies. They are twelve months a year baseball fans.

Sumner Hunnewell also introduced me to my first game of vintage base ball during the 2007 National SABR Convention in St. Louis. While there, I trekked on over one block to the banks of the Mississippi River where Sumner’s St. Louis Perfectos were playing an 1860’s rules game against their top competitors, the St. Louis Unions.

And why did the Perfectos and Unions agree to meet and play their game directly under the national Gateway monument that towered over them at this site? It’s like Sumner explained: “It’s because the Perfectos and Unions are arch-rivals!”

There was a lone vintage team in Houston in 2007 called the Montgomery County Saw Dogs, but I had never seen them play – nor had I seen an 1860’s rules game played by anyone. They actually played three games by three different sets of 18th century baseball rules that day, but the 1860s package was the one that struck a chord of joy with me. The following year, 2008, some of us from our Houston SABR chapter and a few of our independent friends got together and formed the Houston Babies as the reincarnation of our city’s first declared professional team in 1888. With a nod to Sumner and his vintage company for the momentum they added to our fire, I’m proud to say that our 21st century versions of the Houston Babies are now playing into their sixth season and that they have now outlasted the life span of our 19th century brothers six times over.

May the future of vintage base ball, the heart of professional baseball, and the spiritual ghosts of the joyful old sandlot be with us forever – and they will be too – if we keep good people like Sumner Hunnewell in our lives.

Thanks for the baseball card, Sumner. I’ll put it in the same shoebox I use to protect my rare 1909 Honus Wagner card and hide it deeper in the closet. j/k

Just in case everyone who reads these words doesn’t understand “j/k”. It means: “I don’t really have a Honus Wagner card. Not even close. But I do have a loaded Smith & Wesson.

Hope your Wednesday hump is a short one, friends. And don’t let work get n the way of joy.

Galveston County News Coverage of Vintage Ball

May 29, 2013
The Daily News gave front page note to the first page Sports Section story on the vintage game in the upper right hand corner. Robbie Martin of the red-vested Babies and Vince Columbo of the ghostly gray Combine are the poster boys for a new story that gets precedence over results from The Preakness on this same date.

The Daily News gave front page note to the first page Sports Section story on the vintage game in the upper right hand corner. Robbie Martin of the red-vested Babies and Vince Columbo of the ghostly gray Combine are the poster boys for a new story that gets precedence over results from The Preakness on this same date. Callie Mulkey, the 5th place contestant in the bathing suit competition, still got front page coverage over all others on the front page the next day. – How does that work?

On Sunday, May 19. 2013, the Galveston County Daily News gave the Houston Babies and the Katy Combine some monster coverage for their appearance at the Island City Beach Revue and Bathing Beauty Competition the previous day – and they did it for the two clubs’ journey to the Gulf for some good old-fashioned vintage base ball on the seawall drive section that goes right past the playing grounds at the iconic Hotel Galvez.

The Babies and the Combine played out a titanic struggle by the sea, one that only ended after the Houston Babies rallied from an 11-4 deficit at one point to make up a final three-run differential in their last time up to tie the Katy Combine at 14-14 and call it a good place to stop in the presence of fading sunlight.

Alex Hajduk tees off for the Babies. That's Tom Flores of the Combine in the lower section. Tom gave it up for all by serving as the game's "Blind Tom" (umpire).

Alex Hajduk tees off for the Babies. That’s Tom Flores of the Combine in the lower section. Tom gave it up for all by serving as the game’s “Blind Tom” (umpire).

Writer John DeLapp and photographer Kevin M. Cox are responsible for the fine coverage in both words and images, doing a good job of capturing the excitement of the crowd and challenges of the game played on a field that was really too small for the game. As a result, colossal drives to the roof of the two-story parking garage next door were contained by agreement as ground rule singles. Power hitting Babies guy Alex Hajduk jacked three Ruthian swats to the parking lot roof. In fact, that’s one of them shown leaving his bat in the photo featured above on Page One of the Sports Section.

PAST BALL is PLAY BALL. The Astros got a higher placement but our vintage game got the larger headline. That's Vince "The Viper" Columbo of the Combine connecting as Babies catcher Robby Martin looks on with great interest and anticipation.

PAST BALL is PLAY BALL. The Astros got a higher placement but our vintage game got the larger headline. That’s Vince “The Viper” Columbo of the Combine connecting as Babies catcher Robby Martin looks on with great interest and anticipation.

“PAST BALL” IS “PLAY BALL!” Those two words say it all as the best summary on vintage base ball. It is a game that is played in happiness, a game that is both competitive and yet, still joyful – the closest experience to all day sandlot baseball that most of us once knew as kids, a contest taken seriously without grown up rules and interference. We all always understood these two facts: “Three strikes and you’re out. Three outs and the other team bats.” Grasping that much, you get to play a game you love with people you value as brothers and sisters of the baseball soul. – Who could want or ask for anything more, except for a cool breeze every now and then and plenty of water, as long as it didn’t fall from the sky on game day?

That Saturday in Galveston was wonderful. I’ve got a feeling that the next time we travel to the Island, there’s a good chance that we shall run into a new/old club – via the resurrection of the Galveston Sand Crabs.

All of us who do anything to bring vintage base ball to life in the Greater Houston Area want to thank John DeLapp and Kevin M. Cox, the Galveston County News, and the planners of the Beach Revue Weekend for bringing vintage base ball to life on the Island that special weekend. Let’s do it again sometime – and let’s get those Sand Crabs in motion again while the iron of passionate interest is hot!

Have a nice hump day, everybody!

Root. Root. Root.

May 7, 2012

In case you missed yesterday’s coverage of Saturday’s twin bill win by the Houston Babies at the Katy Heritage Festival, here again is the direct link:

Today’s afterglow is simply a short and sweet parody of our baseball national anthem, “Take Me Out To the Ball Game,” that suddenly decided to write itself through me, almost completely in my early morning sleep-wake dawn on the pillow, and in restive honor of our vintage base ball fiery flashes, the Houston Babies. (How’s that for a taste of some 19th century flower-pedal journalism?)

Bob Stephens, Bill McCurdy, Phil Holland.

Take us back – to the old game!

Take us back! – Bring a crowd!

We’ve got the peanuts – and Cracker Jack!

You won’t care – if you NEVER get back!

Come and – ROOT, ROOT, ROOT – for the BABIES!

If they – don’t win – we’ll EXPLAIN!

‘Cause it’s ONE – BOUNCE – CAUGHT – and You’re OUT,

In the Vintage – GAME!

Vintage Ball and the One-Bounce Out

April 3, 2012

Houston Babies @ Katy Commerce Field, 2011.

The 1860s rules for playing the game of base ball are not that hard to follow. Once you snap to the fact that no one is playing with a glove, no one is leading off or stealing bases as runners, and no batter is running full-bore past first base on an infield play. The defense can put you out for running past first base if anyone with the ball tags you before you get back. Once you get that much and then note that the pitching is basically lobbing the ball in there to be hit as though it were a sandlot game, and that no one was reaching by a walk or HBP, you’ve got it. What you’re watching is pretty much baseball as we know it – except for one more big difference – the one-bounce out.

Balls caught on the first bounce cause the batter to be out – even if he simply fouls a pitch that a catcher takes on the first bounce. He’s out.

The effect is to the discouragement of pull hitters. Most of these long high drives on a reasonably level field are going to be easy pickings for an agile outfielder who catches up to that long high first bounce. The one-bounce out is also the main reason why successful vintage ball clubs are adept at liners in the gaps – balls that lace their way into alleys and become worm-burning grounders. No fielder is going to harvest those hitters for very many one-bounce outs.

The one-bounce out decision by fielders is also affected strongly by the presence of base runners. If a team needs to hold down scoring, their fielders better catch some no-bounce flies. Otherwise, their club is going to lose some ground on the score board. Here’s how it works:

Let’s say you club is in the field and that your opponent has runners on second and third with either one or no outs. Their next batter then hits a looping fly ball to left. The left fielder has to run for it, but he is in position to take it on either the fly or one bounce. Either will produce an out, but both runners are off and running hard to home.

If the left fielder takes it on the first bounce, the batter is out, of course, but the runners are allowed to keep the advances they have earned. If they each reach home and ring the “tote me” bell, two runs will have scored for the opposition.

If, on the other hand, the left fielders takes the batted ball on the fly, the batter is out and the runners are forced to go back to the bases from which each came. There is no double or triple play in prospect by these rules – and no penalty for running on any batted ball.

If the fly ball catch is the third out of the inning, of course, there is no scoring on the play, but, if the third out comes vis-a-vis a one-bounce out catch, any runners crossing the plate before the catch is made will be allowed. Any runners still en route to the plate will not count as runs on a first-bounce third out play that happens before they reach their destination.

I can’t think of any 1860s playing rules that would make today’s game better, other than the attention that some rules pay to the importance of good sportsmanship and civil behavior, Unfortunately, the financial stakes in today’s 21st century game and the willingness of some to break the rules to gain some kind of edge makes that expectation today an unreality.

Today it takes rules and enforcement in the hope of preponderant compliance with everything deemed important.

Babies Bring Home Bacon from Sealy!

April 1, 2012

The Houston Babies and the Katy Combine squared off at the Sealy, Texas Spring Quilting Festival on March 31, 2012. The Babies won their only contest of the day, 13-4, over Katy. In a second game, Katy also fell to the Boerne, Texas White Sox by a 5-2 count.

A late 19th century sports writer for the Houston Daily Post might have written it this way:

Following a pleasant spring morning day trip up the road west of town, the Houston Babies Base Ball Club descended upon the quiet village of Sealy, Texas Saturday and immediately seized their eyes upon the sight of boundless festive opportunity. Scrambling quickly and firmly upon the pig of good fortune, and fueled unfailingly by their superior ginger of spirit, the urbane Babies fastly slaughtered and roasted their rural neighbors in base ball, albeit in the civilly prescribed manner put forth by the gods of the game, and then proudly brought home the bacon of victory to all their cranks in the fair City of Houston. By nightfall, the entire colorfully spirits-boosted sporting community of Houston was up and about and lifting their cups of joy to the cherished  memory of General Sam.

By noon Saturday, the aspiring and delightful White Sox of Boerne, Texas also arrived in Sealy to witness the Babies coming back from an early 0-4 deficit due to some muffing fingers a-field, but in time to turn the crank on a hitting display that decidedly vanquished all hope for a Katy club survival. The Hajduk family led the Babies in a glowing blaze of Father-Son Glory. Father Larry Hajduk, the old shuffling Buffalo from Buffalo, New York again pitched a complete game victory in the 2012 season opener for the Babies, giving up only two earned runs on the day. Son Alex Hajduk, known alternately as Beef, or “Son of Kong,”  went three for five with a double and a fences-clearing home run to inspire and direct the bombastically devastating Babies offense.

In the second game, the Boerne White Sox were able to lay a second wounding defeat upon dear Katy with the import help of two “temporary revolvers” named Alex of the Hajduk and Schmelter families and one kiddo named Kyle from the surnamed Burns familial group.

In the ongoing absence of sufficient minimal player numbers for a tourney match game against the same talent-providing Babies in a third championship contest of the day, the Houston Babies exercised their civil spirit and declined to take a forfeit victory over Boerne under the circumstances, but they and all others in attendance  implicitly acknowledged that the Houston Babies, indeed, had won the day and the base ball tourney by both their performance on the field against Katy – and also off the field in conjunction with their Boerne win declination. The Babies’ gracious actions stood tall this afternoon as a straight-from-the-heart Houston-style tribute to good sportsmanship.

Raise your glasses tonight and come see us play the next time out, Houston. The next vintage ball action in these parts is scheduled for May 5, 2012 in Katy, Texas. Stay tuned for further details.

In the meanwhile, here’s the Babies Box Score from today’s action in Sealy and one more photo of the Katy-Boerne clubs.

Houston Babies Box Score Activity, March 31, 2012.

Player                    Nickname           ( AB – R – H)   Extra Base Hits

Kyle Burns            3rd Degree           (5- 3-3)

Phil Holland          Hoover                 (4-1-1)                      2BH

Bob Stevens           Crowbar              (1-0-0)

Alex Hajduk           Beef                     (5-3-3)                     HR, 2BH

Larry Miggins        Longball               (5-1-2)

Bill Hale                Slick Willie            (3-0-2)

Jo Hale                  Red                      (2-1-2)

Robby Martin      Speedy                   (5-1-1)

Mike McCroskey   No  Wheels          (1-0-0)

Larry Hajduk         Buffalo *             (4-1-2)    (W) / 2 Earned Runs

Robert Pina            Slick                  (4-0-0)

Alex Schmelter      Keed                  (4-2-2)

Totals                                           (42-13-16)

Babies Team BA, This Game = .381

Katy                     220 000 0 –  4

Houston            025 600 x – 13

Final Score: Houston Babies 13 – Katy Combine 4.

Field Manager:  “Baseball Bob” Dorrill

General Manager:  Bill “Doc” McCurdy

* Newer nickname suggestions for hurler Larry Hajduk: (1) “Double Duty” and (2) “CG” for Complete Game.

Sportsmanship and Camaraderie are essential to the spirit of vintage base ball, played by 1860 rules. Here are members of the Boerne White Sox and the Katy Combine gathering for a game picture after the 5-2 Boerne win at Sealy, Texas on Saturday. March 31, 2012.

Houston Babies in Action Today!

March 31, 2012

The Houston Babies are in Tourney action at Sealy today, Saturday, March 31st.

The Houston Babies vintage base ball team joins  with clubs from Katy and Boerne today for tourney action at the Spring Picnic and Airing of the Quilts festival in Sealy, Texas today, Saturday, March 31st. Action begins about 10:30 this morning, but continues through the afternoon in the middle of numerous other festival activities.

Sealy, Texas is an easy 50 mile drive west on I-10 from Houston and the spring weather today is predicted to be perfect among the wild flowers for this old-time, family fun celebration of the good life. Here’s a link to further info on the festival and the base ball tournament:

If you’ve never seen baseball played by 1860’s rules with no gloves, come on out. The Houston Babies once existed as the first professional baseball team in Houston. Come on out and help support their glorious return to play in the 21st century too. We will appreciate the boost from your energy.

For further information about the Houston Babies and how you can join in the fun as a player, sponsor, or new team founder, please feel free to get in touch with either Babies Club General Manager Bill McCurdy ( or Babies Field Manager Bob Dorrill  ( and talk over how you can become involved. Both will be at today’s game and are open to your questions.

It’s spring again. – Let’s play some vintage base ball.


If I Never Get Back

March 24, 2012

Baseball's Greatest Time Travel Novel (1990). If you str looking for a taste of what it's like to play vintage base ball by the 1860's rules, a la the Houston Babies this one is the book you need to read.

Take me out to the ball game!

Take me out with the crowd!

Buy me some peanuts and Cracker Jack!

I don’t care if I never get back!


Let me root, root, root for the home team!

If they don’t win, it’s a shame!

For it’s one, two, three strikes you’re out,

At the old ball game!

In Darryl Brock’s exciting to sentimental baseball novel, an unexpected time warp opens up and places 1990 newspaperman Sam Fowler back in 1869 and riding on the same train as the great undefeated Cincinnati Red Stockings of that golden year birth of professional baseball. I wouldn’t begin to spoil the two-novel series that unfolds from there, but if you like science fiction, baseball, history, intrigue, and romantic adventure – all rolled into one package – these two works by Darryl Brock are definitely for you. The sequel, “Two in the Field,” was published in 2002 and, unlike many follow-up novels, this one does not disappoint. It simply amplifies the action and depth of character involved in the life of a man who was born in the 20th century to really come of age in the late 1800s.

"Two in the Field" (2002) picks up where Darryl Brock's first novel leaves off without missing a broken heart beat and it carries new action of good versus evil from the east coast to a thrilling conclusion in the American West of 1875. I simply cannot speak to which time zone the story concludes because that information would be a spoiler.

Darryl Brock, Author.

Both books are still available for immediate delivery through Amazon, and probably Barnes & Noble and E-Bay too. I don’t often boost books, but these I do. They each were page turners for me, the kind of books that leave you feeling that you are saying good-bye to old friends when they conclude..

Thank you, Sam Fowler, Colm, Caitlyn and Tim O’Neill, Mark Twain, Andy Leonard, Asa Brainard, George and Harry Wright, Johnny, Linc, Goose, President Grant, George Armstrong Custer, and Crazy Horse. – It’s been a great ride.

Thank you, too, author Darryl Brock, for the fine research you did on a multiplicity of items that made Sam Fowler’s trip back in time so utterly believable. The sights, and sounds, and smoke stack smells of 1869 Cincinnati will be with your readers forever as brilliant background to the story your work unfolds. Thank you for giving your plot line  the very best shot at credibility.

And thank you, finally, for giving everyone who has ever wondered about the joy of vintage base ball action from the 19th century as it now plays again in the 21st as a little taste of what the buzz was all about.

If you would like a first person taste of vintage base ball, as played by basically the same 1860’s rules that governed the game in Brock’s novels, follow the Houston Babies next Saturday, March 31st, to Sealy, Texas for the big spring festival and vintage ball tournament. Complete info is available through the following link. They also provide a phone number for your additional questions.

Sealy, Texas is located about 50 miles west of Houston on I-10. Come join us, if possible,

Houston Babies Open Season, March 31st

March 5, 2012

Houston Babies

A sharply hit grounder races back over the middle.

Skimming the infield grass and sparking the fragrance

Of freshly minted chlorophyll.

Cirrus clouds roll in as the masts of every dream we ever embraced

On sandlots past – as hope startles its determined way to life again,

As a ship of new dreams, coming to life reincarnate, late in the day.

This sweet afternoon time, we pursue our joy with no leather to protect us;

No glove for the catching action; no protection from the whopping sound

Of animal hide crashing hard into the meat of every aspiring human hand.

It’s vintage base ball time again; time for second chances with one-bounce outs by the 1860 rules – but time for serious negative consequences too for those fielders who misjudge a ball’s chances for a perpendicular hop. Still, muffs are muffs – and everybody who plays the game has them.

If you’ve never played or seen a game of 19th century vintage baseball, come see the SABR-sponsored “HOUSTON BABIES” open their season as part of the March 31st Sealy, Texas Historical Society’s Spring Picnic, Vintage Base Ball, and 19th Century Quilting Meet.

For more information about the general spring festival, contact the Sealy Historical Society through the website:

For more specific information about the Vintage Base Ball Schedule of games involving the Houston Babies and clubs from Katy and Sealy at the March 31st event, please contact the Babies Manager, Bob Dorrill through his e-mail address:

Boerne White Sox Are Dedicated Vintage Ballists

October 24, 2011

EVERYBODY LOVES JIMMY! After posing with his home town favorite Houston Babies club on Saturday, Oct. 22nd, Astros Icon Jimmy Wynn also sat for a photo with Kristy Watson and the visiting Boerne White Sox at the George Ranch Field.

The feisty Boerne White Sox also came to town last Saturday, October 22nd, to participate in the one-day tournament with the Houston Babies and Katy Combine at the George Ranch Field near Sugar Land. It was their fourth trip to the Houston area in recent memory for the purpose of engaging our local clubs for a few rousing rounds of vintage rules base ball.

Miss Kristy “Horseshoe” Watson is the firebrand spirit of the White Sox, if not their designated leader, and you can see Kristy in the featured group photo that appears with this column. She is the only blonde and only female in the bunch – and the nicest representative of vintage base ball that anyone could ever possibly hope to meet. In fact, anyone from the San Antonio-Boerne area who may be interested in vintage base ball should check out the club’s Facebook page at and get in touch with Kristy about playing and sponsorship opportunities. Vintage Base Ball is the closet experience anyone could ever have to the thrill of our childhood sandlot days.

Boerne also boasts of a second newer club they call the Tusculum Freethinkers, a team with some overlapping involvement by members of the White Sox roster, but that’s cool too. The little Texas community that has spawned both these vintage clubs has something of an overlapping history with its own community identity.

A brief history of Boerne explains it this way: “Boerne, the county seat of Kendall County, is located on Cibolo Creek, Interstate Highway 10, and U.S. Highway 87 thirty miles northwest of San Antonio in the southern part of the county. In 1849 a group of German colonists from Bettina camped on the north side of Cibolo Creek, about a mile west of the site of present Boerne. They called their new community Tusculum, after Cicero’s home in ancient Rome. In 1852 Gustav Theissen and John James laid out the townsite and changed the name to Boerne in honor of Ludwig Boerne, a German author and publicist.”

Only in Texas do culture and commerce come together at the tap root quite so often in these same entangled ways. Or so it seems.

A more complete history of the community prepared by the Texas State Historical Association is available at

Kristy Watson & Boerne Company

The Boerne group is planning a vintage base ball activity for March of 2012 and we will do our best to keep you posted of those plans as they become known and made available to The Pecan Park Eagle.