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19th-Century Baseball Entertains In Easton

A member of Billy Barnie’s Blue Boys prepares to take a swing during a vintage baseball game in Easton.
A member of Billy Barnie’s Blue Boys prepares to take a swing during a vintage baseball game in Easton. Photo Credit: Vanessa Inzitari
Nutmeg Base Ball Club member Jamie Steffen, known on the field as Peanut, throws a pitch during one of Saturday's vintage exhibition games in Easton.
Nutmeg Base Ball Club member Jamie Steffen, known on the field as Peanut, throws a pitch during one of Saturday's vintage exhibition games in Easton. Photo Credit: Vanessa Inzitari
Umpire Gary "Pops" O'Maxfield calls a play Saturday during one of two exhibition games played in Easton.
Umpire Gary "Pops" O'Maxfield calls a play Saturday during one of two exhibition games played in Easton. Photo Credit: Vanessa Inzitari
Vintage baseballs were used in Saturday's exhibition games.
Vintage baseballs were used in Saturday's exhibition games. Photo Credit: Vanessa Inzitari

EASTON, Conn. – Children and adults gathered at Veterans Park in Easton on Saturday got a glimpse of how baseball was played back in the 1860s as the Nutmeg Base Ball Club took on Billy Barnie’s Blue Boys in two exhibition games.

The teams — named after historic teams that played in Hartford — are part of the Coltsville Vintage Base Ball League, which is headed by the Friends of Vintage Base Ball , a Hartford-based re-enactment group.

Each team in the league uses period-appropriate uniforms, equipment, customs and rules.

“It’s definitely more entertaining” than playing modern-day baseball, said Blue Boy team member Mark Wigglesworth, known on the field as Scrappy.

Saturday’s first game followed 1865 rules, while the second was based on 1861 rules. Compared with modern rules, some of the differences are small. For example, the pitcher stood closer to the batter and threw the ball underhand.

Other changes are more noticeable. Back then, players used their bare hands to catch balls – not gloves.

The event raised funds for the Easton Historical Society and was co-sponsored by the Easton Parks and Recreation Department.

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