Solloway: Field of dreams – circa 1860s

Old-time baseball players relive

game the way it was played in

pastoral America of 150 years ago

 FREEPORT – The field was freshly mowed but no one had collected the clumps of grass clippings. Mosquitoes swarmed as Mark Rohman paced off the diamond to help set the bases. Ballists loosened their arms while rooters spread blankets or placed chairs for good sight lines.

Troubadors strolled and youngsters darted. Vendors prepared to sell beer, kettle corn, ice cream and hot dogs. Umpire Jeff Peart, so dignified in a black frock coat, dazzling white shirt and gray, bushy beard, called the two teams together Sunday.

It was time to play old-time baseball, to relive the America of 150 years ago. The men who are the Essex Base Ball Club of Danvers, Mass., took the field, 100 yards or so from the simple white house on Pettengill Farm.

The players of the Dirigo Vintage Base Ball Club of Augusta — or ballists, as they were called in the 1860s — hefted long, narrow bats and waited their turn to strike. “I love baseball and I love history,” said Rohman, a Civil War re-enactor. He organized the Dirigo side five years ago after researching everything from the rules of the period, the uniforms and the terminology.

Click on the link for the rest of this story by Steve Solloway in the Portland Press Herald.

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