Vintage baseball is coming to UM-Flint Saturday.
The University of Michigan-Flint's History Department is holding Flint's first vintage tournament May 21, in partnership with the Whaley Historic House Museum and the Stockton Center at Spring Grove.
The rules to this game are a bit different. The players don't wear gloves. Fielders can catch the ball on one bounce and it is still an out. And pitches are thrown underhand. The teams play by the rules used in 1860. The uniforms replicate styles used from that time, too.
Lumber City Base Ball Club, formed four years ago by UM-Flint's History Department and the Whaley House, will square off against the Richmond Bees, The Northville Eclipse, and the Port Huron Welkins at games near the William S. White Building along Fifth Avenue.
Lumber City plays vintage games across the state and beyond, with several home games at UM-Flint. But this is the first tournament hosted in the city, organizers said. Games will take place between noon and 5 p.m.
The umpires are mic'd and will talk about the history of the city, said UM-Flint Wyatt Professor of U.S. History Thomas Henthorn. Both Whaley House and Stockton Center staff will talk about their historical sites. The tournament has been coined the Stockton Cup Vintage Baseball Festival. This is named for Colonel Thomas Stockton, a prominent resident of Flint in the second half of the nineteenth century, who served with the U.S. Army in the Mexican-American War and the Civil War. His family's home is now the Stockton Center, in Flint.
"We wanted to use the vintage baseball team as a way to highlight some of the other historic treasures we have in Flint," Henthorn said.
The games are a way for the public to enjoy the campus, and the resources of the university, too, Henthorn said. About 15 players are on Lumber City Base Ball Club, with more than half UM-Flint students, faculty, or alumni.
Attendance is free and people can bring their own chairs to line up and watch the games.
And since the one-bounce rule is in effect, the games last only about two hours each.
"That tends to move the innings along a little faster," he said.