The Ohio Village Muffins Baseball Club stopped at Harlem Days Saturday afternoon for a friendly baseball game against the Harlem Fire Starters.
The all-volunteer Muffins were established in 1981 to play 1860s-style vintage baseball. Muffins advisory board president Jim Kimnach said there are 45 Muffins volunteers, about 30 of them active and ready to play.
“Baseball was developed a year before the Civil War began,” Kimnach said. “When the war ended, the game spread out around the country.”
The 1860s-style games had different rules that today’s baseball players might find difficult to adjust to – no spitting, no swearing, no arguing with umpires, and underhand pitching.
“Players didn’t wear gloves, and articles of clothing such as a hat could not be used to catch a ball,” Kimnach said. “If a foul or fair ball bounces once and is caught, it’s an out; and gentlemen didn’t slide.”
One other vintage baseball rule would not fly in today’s fast-paced big-league game — the pitcher must deliver the ball as requested by the batter, who holds out his bat to indicate where the ball is to be sent.
The Ohio Village Muffins won the game, defeating the Fire Starters, 20-5.
“Although we started off well, with a run in the first, the ol’ Muffins scored a few more than we did in the 8-inning titanic struggle,” said Fire Starter Kevin White. “There were some spectacular plays turned in by our defense, but our bats just couldn’t keep up. We’ll get them back next year, as we’ll know what to expect.”
Reporter Lenny C. Lepola can be reached at 614-266-6093