Area residents are invited to step back in time and experience a series of Civil War era base ball games featuring the Canton Cornshuckers. This local team will take on several Metro Detroit challengers in the Base Ball style of the 1860s, which at the time was considered a gentlemen’s game of friendly competition.
The Canton Cornshuckers’ home schedule of vintage base ball games will be held on the following Sunday afternoons at 2 p.m. in Canton’s Heritage Park, located adjacent to Canton Administration Building at 1150 S. Canton Center Road in Canton, MI, 48188.
Canton Cornshuckers Remaining Home Schedule:
Sunday, July 9th vs. Taylor Wolverines
Sunday, August 20th vs. Wyandotte Stars
Sunday, August 27th vs. Rochester Grangers
Sunday, September 10th vs. Plymouth Red Rovers
The players, also known as ‘ballists,’ will wear reproductions of period uniforms and recreate the game based on rules of 1867. The game or ’match’ will be played by two area teams using ’original’ rules of base ball, which include: no gloves, no bunting, no foot-first sliding, or over running first base. The team to bat first will be determined by a coin flip or bat toss prior to the match. Nine full innings will be played, regardless of which team is ahead in runs or ‘tallies’. The match will use a lemon peel base ball, measuring 9.75 inches in circumference and 5.75 ounces in weight. These vintage base balls are larger in comparison to modern baseballs, which have a circumference of 9.25 inches and weigh in at 5.25 ounces.
The pitcher or ‘hurler’ will deliver the ball with an underhand pitching style to the batter’s or ‘striker’s’ request, in an effort to ensure that the player at bat will be able to hit the ball. Modern-day balls and strikes are not called unless a pitcher/hurler fails to deliver the ball fairly. The player/ballist will then be warned by the umpire. If the batter/striker fails to swing at fair pitches, he will also be warned by the umpire. Foul balls or “foul ticks” may be caught in the air or on a single bounce for an out. Fair balls must be caught out of the air for an out. Match errors are recorded as “muffs.”
In modern baseball, a ball must cross either third or first base in fair territory to be a fair ball. In 1860s rules, balls are determined fair or foul, based on where they first land. So, a ball may land in fair territory first, then roll 15 feet into foul territory, and still be a fair ball. All bats are hand made out of Ash, Maple or Birch, often made by members of the team.
To add to the vintage feel of the match, every player has a nickname that they have earned, such as: Marbles; Tex; Teddy; Muffin Man; and St. Nikk. In vintage base ball, a left-handed hitter is known as a ‘wrong hander,’ and a foul tip is called a ‘tick.’ Outs are called as hands down, so one out would be one hand down and two outs would be two hands down.
Catch all the 1860s action and cheer on these ballists with shouts of ‘striker to the line’ (batter up) or ‘well held’ (good catch) during this upcoming matches.