Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Vintage Base Ball

This past Saturday I played in my first vintage base ball game, for a club called the Farmers Branch Mustangs.  The team actually falls under the management of the Farmers Branch Historical Park.  The team plays games under the rules that were written and adopted by the National Association of Base-Ball Players in March of 1860.  We also try to play with uniforms and equipment that players of the era would have used.  This means that, in the field, we play without gloves.  Bare-handed.  The base balls are a bit different in that they are a little bit softer than a modern baseball and with a single piece of leather instead of two.  Here's a picture...

The bats are thinner at the barrel but thicker around the handle than the bats of today.  There are no ball and strike counts, so there are no walks.  A swing and a miss is a strike, and three strikes is an out.  A foul ball is not a strike.  A foul tip that is caught by the catcher, either in the air or on one bounce is an out no matter how many strikes there are.  Any ball hit, fair or foul, if caught in the air or on one bounce results in the batter being out.  I really like that one bounce rule when I’m playing in the field since we aren't wearing gloves.  The pitchers have to throw the ball underhanded which makes things easier on the batter (called the striker) and on the bare-handed catcher (and I played four innings at catcher this past Saturday). 

I've always been a fan of baseball history, and participating on this team makes me feel more connected to that history.

So what does this have to do with art modeling?  Well, I've already arranged one modeling session in my vintage uniform for a group of portrait painters in a couple of weeks.  Here's a picture of me in uniform from Saturday's game.

The Farmers Branch uniform is more of an early 20th-century look.  The 19th century uniforms had high collars, and some of them had what looked like shields on the front of the shirts.  I wish the Farmers Branch team had those shield uniforms since they look really cool.

I had so much fun playing last weekend that I will definitely be a part of the team in future games.