Our Belle River team has joined the Vintage Baseball Association, a national organization of vintage teams. We are listed as an active member on their national web site. If you go to VBBA and look under member teams, it will show a map of the USA, click on Indiana and there we are.
We are always looking for additional players. If you are 16 or older contact the Ohio County Historical Society and Museum at (812) 438-4915.
The base ball fever hit Rising Sun in July 1868 with the organization of three teams: the Phoenix, Young America, and Rising Sun. In the June 26, 1869 issue of the Rising Sun Recorder this blurb appears: “For the first time within the history of the game with us, a Rising Sun club has been victorious. They beat the “Rabbit-hashers,” over the way, last Saturday. The latter is a new club and its members all inexperienced, but zealous at practice. We’d hesitate to put one of our clubs against them a month or two hence. There’s too much “exercise” necessary to success in base ball for Rising Sun players.”
In the July 21, 1869, Rising Sun Recorder, reports that “the Belle River Club of this city is going to have a busy season, if the number of games to be played is any thing of an index. This morning the first nine will play on the club grounds with the White Stockings of Vevay.”
No mention of the results of the game were found, but in the August 7 newspaper the Belle River Club was beaten 63 to 33 by the Atlantics of Aurora. The next month the Belle River Club defeated the Hoosiers of Aurora 50-31 and the White Stockings of Vevay 59-41.
The Belle River Club could be found playing in 1870, but thereafter there was no mention of the Belle River Club. Of the teams that played during 1869 (the year that we play) in Rising Sun the Belle River Club appeared to play more than the others.
Vintage base ball players do not us gloves and the ball is slightly larger and a little softer (unless you take a line drive off the hands at the start of the game before the ball is soften up some) than the ball of today. The field of play is a flat grassy area free of obstructions if possible. Some fields have a tree between the foul lines and others have a slight rise to a base.
One umpire is used to call the game. He can use the players and cranks (fans) to make a close call. As this was gentlemanly game it worked well to call on others to help. Unlike today’s ball players the players of 1869 did not spit, swear, or other action that may be found offensive to a lady. The players congratulate an oppenent on a good play.
A coin toss preceded the game and the winner of the coin toss decided to bat first or second. The host team did not always bat second. the batting order was not restricted to the nine fielders and those who sat out could go back on the field. To start the next inning, the striker (batter) that follows the player that made the final out of the previous inning whether as a batter or a runner is the first batter of the inning.
There are additional rules.
Our home field is at Rising Star Field, Rising Star Casino, Rising Sun, Indiana