The days are getting longer, the sun is feeling warmer on my face, and an anxious buzz has taken over much of Michigan. This can only mean one thing: it’s summer and the Detroit Tigers are at it again. In addition to memories of my mother working in the flower garden, my father forcing me to weed the vegetable garden, and my incessant begging to be taken to some kind of beach for relief from the summer heat, this time of year also brings back memories of my great-grandfather listening to the Detroit Tigers on the radio. As a child I played in the community peewee leagues and enjoyed going to an occasional West Michigan White Caps game (I’m a native west-sider), but I never could understand why anyone would want to listen to a baseball game on the radio. It baffled me.
Well, since then, I have grown to enjoy the voices of Rod Allen and Mario Impemba announcing the games and am an avid Tigers fan. But trips to Detroit are few and far between. So, what can you baseball fans do to fulfill your need for the smell of a green outfield and the crack of the ball on the bat? Well, the Whaley Historic House Museum has an answer for you! We invite you to check out Flint’s own vintage baseball team, the Lumber City Base Ball Club! The team will be playing games across the area all summer long, several being held right here on the University of Michigan-Flint campus! Opposing teams include the Bay City Independents, the Saginaw Old Golds, the Rochester Grangers, and the Greenfield Village Lah De Dahs.
This is not simply an endeavor thought up by a few baseball fans, however. It’s an historically correct form of entertainment during the Gilded Age (late 1800s). During this time, as families moved away from farms that required constant labor during the daylight hours and to cities where the work day was only a portion of an individual’s time, leisure activities grew greatly in popularity. This is especially true of upper and middle class families, but even working class families allowed themselves to get wrapped up in the emerging professional sports organization and baseball was one form of sporting entertainment. The Lumber City Base Ball Club attempts to remain historically accurate by wearing authentic-style uniforms, playing WITHOUT a glove, following nineteenth-century rules, and using appropriate lingo!
So, I hope to see you cranks at the ground. Hopefully our ballists will hit the apple out of the field and get a couple of four basers! When this happens we better hear cries of “Huzzah” from all of you! (To translate this, head over to Whaley House website.)