Monday, September 24, 2012

New Jersey's Newest Vintage Base Ball Club

For over a decade now New Jersey has had two vintage base ball clubs, the Elizabeth Resolutes and the Flemington Neshanock who both strive to recreate base ball the way it was played in the 19th century.  Over that period there have been a number of efforts to start other teams and it certainly seems that a state with as rich a base ball history as New Jersey should have more than two clubs.  After several years of playing an annual game with the Neshanock, a group from Hoboken supported by the Hoboken Historical Museum, now seems well on their way to establishing New Jersey's third vintage club, the Hoboken Nine.  Although in their first year, the players are far from muffins as shown in a number of contests including winning two games in the Philadelphia Naval Yard Festival on September 15th.  

                                                           Photo by Mark Granieri 

This past Saturday, the Neshanock returned to Hudson County, this time to Pershing Field in the Heights section of Jersey City to play two games with the newcomers, one by 1864 rules and one by 1870 regulations.  In the first contest, the Hoboken Club got off to an early 2-0 lead and used outstanding defense with timely hitting to secure a 10-5 victory.  In the second match, the Neshanock bats came to life with a vengeance as the Flemington club scored eight times in the first inning and followed that with a 12 run fifth inning which was more than enough for a 21-5 triumph.  The Hoboken Club is to be commended for their fine start and it is certainly hoped that they will go on to a long history like the Flemington and Elizabeth clubs.  Personally, I hope that at least one more New Jersey club will be formed so there can be an annual New Jersey championship.

                                                             Photo by Mark Granieri 

While the Neshanock's offensive explosion in the second match was spread throughout the lineup, Mark "Gaslight" Granieri's performance at bat, in the field and on the bench merits special mention.  The Neshanock catcher had the day's only clear score with two doubles and two singles and even scored once as the designated runner for Brad "Brooklyn" Shaw.  In the field, "Gaslight" not only recorded a number of putouts including two tag plays at the plate, but also threw out a Hoboken runner trying to steal second.  The throw wasn't exactly a Mark "Peaches" Rubini laser, but it got there or at least before the runner did.   There's no truth to the rumor that the runner's nickname was "turtle."  "Gaslight" also outperformed the rest of the Neshanock in cookie consumption on the bench to the point that a new nickname might be in order.

                                                          Photo by Mark Granieri

The game was played in Jersey City because there were no available fields in Hoboken which isn't without a certain amount of irony since base ball first came to Hoboken because of the lack of space in New York City.  Pershing Park is in the Jersey City Heights area which prior to 1868 was actually a separate municipality, called Hudson City.  Hudson City was home to one of New Jersey's earliest base ball clubs, the creatively named Fear Not Club which played in 1855, the first season of documented New Jersey match play.  After losing their first match to the Excelsior Club of Jersey City (undefeated in 1855), the Fear Nots came back and defeated the Palisades Club of West Hoboken (now Union City).  At least two other teams, the Columbia and National Clubs were founded in 1859.

The Neshanock will be back in action this coming Saturday, September 29th in a double header against the Athletic Club of Philadelphia in Monroe, New Jersey.  Check www.neshanock,org for more information.

No comments:

Post a Comment