The Akron Black Stockings is the resident vintage base ball* team at Stan Hywet Hall & Gardens and plays home games on the Great Meadow from May – September. The team also hosts the all-day Akron Cup Vintage Base Ball Exhibition every July at Stan Hywet. Eight clubs compete and two “matches” take place simultaneously throughout the day.
Watch a vintage base ball game from 1-3pm on May 21, June 11, August 6 and September 10, 2017. The Akron Cup takes place from 9am-5pm on July 9, 2017.
Vintage base ball is now part of VINTAGE DAYS at Stan Hywet. For details, click here.
Vintage base ball, with its own set of terminology and rules emphasizes true sportsmanship and friendly competition. It is a “gentleman’s game” and all players must treat their opponents and umpires with the utmost respect. There is no bunting or sliding in vintage base ball. Uncivil language, ungentlemanly behavior, spitting and alcohol are also prohibited at vintage base ball games and are “punishable by fine.” In addition, safety equipment was not used in the 1860s so vintage base ball is played without helmets, catcher’s masks or gloves. While considerably different, the modern spectator will recognize today’s game at these vintage games.
Base ball has its roots in pre-Revolutionary Games of “bat and ball.” Different forms of the game were played on the East Coast in the 1800s, and rules were formalized in the 1840s by a bunch of New Yorkers who played the game and called themselves the Knickerbockers. The popularity of the game continued to grow in the 1850s, and after a brief lull during the Civil War, it was rekindled. The first all-professional base ball team, the Cincinnati Red Stockings began playing in 1869.
*historically accurate spelling