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Vintage Base Ball at Fort Vancouver Sunday, August 19, 2007

Andrew Fletcher makes a selection from the collection of vintage bats Aug. 18 during a re-enactment of a 1860s base ball game at Fort Vancouver. The fort hosts two games every year between the Occidental Base Ball Club, representing the townsmen of Vancouver, and the Shermans, representing a team of soldiers from the fort.

Friday night I heard about this re-enactment that was to take place Saturday, and so I decided to go shoot it. The weather was grey and increasingly rainy. The 100-plus "cranks" (fans) that were there at the beginning of the game dwindled to a couple of dozen at the end. But other than that, it was a lot of fun.

The two teams (made of members of the 1st Oregon Volunteer Infantry re-enactment group) have played at the fort twice a year for about 5 years. Naturally, they play in period clothing and with 1860s rules.

The rules are mostly the same as today, with two major differences:

1. The umpire doesn't call any balls or strikes. The batter can take as many (underhand) pitches as he likes until he swings and misses three, or hits one. (Fouls don't count as strikes either.)

2. Balls caught on the fly are outs, like today, but so are balls caught on the first "bound." That's right: you can let it hit the ground once and then catch it, and it's still an out. But you don't get a baseball glove.

The ball looks something like a normal baseball, but it's quite squishy.

You can see more of my photos from the game on my page.