The 5th Annual Gettysburg National 19th Century Base Ball Festival is only days away now and the players and clubs are starting to make their way to town via steamboat, stagecoach, horse back and train. This year’s Festival will be a special one. In years past, the event has shown all games played the same way it was played in 1864 in Gettysburg. This year, we will be showing the public all styles of play in base ball’s formative years from primitive town ball (with a 1839 origination) all the way up to the almost modern game of 1884. In between, fans will see games from 1855, 1857, 1862, 1864, 1866, 1867, 1869, 1870, 1873, 1876 and 1884.
Fans who come out at 12pm on Sunday will get a special treat to see a re-match of the Philadelphia Athletics and New York Mutuals from 1876. Both clubs were original members of the National League but were kicked out for not traveling west (to read the real story purchase a program at the Festival!). Fans will get to see how base ball was played when the National League (the league the current Phillies and Pirates play in) started.
Another great story line is the re-matches of games between the famous Cincinnati Red Stockings and others. In 1870, the Red Stockings were in the middle of a 70 game win streak when they defeated the Mutuals, Athletics, and New York Gothams. It all came crashing down for them in 1870 when they ran up against the Brooklyn Atlantics. See a rematch of this game at 3pm on Saturday.
Another highlight will be a townball demonstration and game by the Philadelphia Athletics vs the Columbus Capitals at 1:45 on Sunday. Fans will get to see what the very first base ball game looked like. Festival goers will also not want to miss a progressive match between the Providence Grays and the Elkton Eclipse on Saturday at 11am. In this game, the match will start in 1854 followed by 2 innings of 1864 then 2 of 1874 and 3 of 1884 so fans in one game will see the entire progression of base ball from its infancy to its almost modern form. It’s a game you won’t want to miss!