Hear ye, hear ye, the Gotham Base Ball Club will be hosting the infamous New York Mutual Base Ball Club on Governors Island NYC on August 15th, 2015. That is a ferry ride from the Battery right next to the Staten Island Ferry Terminal downtown. The matches will begin at 11:30 AM with two games being played in the fashion of 1864.
1864 is the last year of the bounded ball, where a ball caught on a single bounce caused the batter to be out. In 1865, the rules were changed so that the players must catch the ball on a fly within the field of play for the batter to be out. For many years afterwards foul balls were still counted as outs on the bound. But fouls in those days were also not yet called strikes.
The Mutuals have the historical distinction, aside from being a great club and overall good bunch of guys, of being the first club in the history of Base Ball to have players caught fixing a game. In 1865, three Mutual players on a ferry ride on the way to a game were approached by a local sportsman and offered one hundred dollars to throw the game. They accepted what amounted to 33 bucks each, were subsequently caught, subsequently suspended and the following year were subsequently reinstated.
Although these players will not be playing on Saturday the 15th, there will be games, no steroids, no gloves but gambling will be tolerated and even encouraged. Yes in the barnstorming days of base ball, two words that is, this was part of the game around the game. Those who would like to see and perhaps try their hands, bare of course, at the art of manliness as it was in the formative years of the game, learn a little in the process and have a good deal of fun are welcome.
Take the day on Governors Island, bring a bike, a chair and a friend. Bring someone you hate, we don’t care. But join us for a beautiful day on the island in celebration of base ball as it used to be.
Charles “Bugs” Klasman
Gotham Base Ball Club