Monday, September 17, 2012

Base Ball and Boats

It was very difficult for 19th century New Jersey base ball clubs to play matches far from home due to the limited means of transportation.  Clubs were able to travel by train, horse drawn conveyance, ferry and some clubs even made trips by steam boat, mostly after the Civil War.  In today's world of vintage base ball, the Flemington Neshanock make most of their trips by automobile, but in the past two years we seem to have gone back to one 19th century mode - the ferry.  This year, for example, the Neshanock have traversed Boston and New York harbor by means of local ferries.

                                 Photo by Mark Granieri

Most of us, I think, have had enough boat travel for one season, so this past Saturday, it was nice to see the boats preserved at the Philadelphia Navy Yard without having to sail on them.  The occasion was the Philadelphia 19th Century Base Ball and Exhibition Fair hosted admirably the Athletic Base Ball Club of Philadelphia on the parade ground at the Naval Yard.  It was a wonderful venue, large enough for three games to be going on simultaneously.  

                                                 Photo by Mark Granieri

In the first match, the Neshanock took on their long time rivals, the Eclipse Base Ball Club of Eltkon, Maryland.  It was a back and forth affair that went 12 innings before Elkton emerged the victors by a 13-12 count.  It was a tough loss, but after a short respite, it was time for the second match originally against the Chesapeake and Potomac Base Ball Club.  However there were only two members of this team present so the Neshanock ended up facing a team made up of the two Chesapeake players as well as members of the Talbot Fair Plays, the Arundel Excelsiors, the host Athletics and probably another team I'm missing.

                               Photo by Mark Granieri

The Neshanock won the match 10-4, led by what are reportedly some record setting performances.  Mark "Peaches" Rubini hit not one, but two home runs, the second of which was preceded by a homer off the bat of Greg "Southwark" Stoloski.  Those present indicated these were the first back-to-back home runs in club history, the first two homer game for a Neshanock, not to mention the first three home run game by the club.  

With the second match victory, the Neshanock have won nine of their last twelve matches as they try to reach the .500 mark by season's end.  Next up is a match on Saturday, September 22nd against the Hoboken Nine, a new New Jersey club, at a yet to be announced venue.  

Thanks again to the Athletic Club and everyone who made the weekend possible.

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