Catch the Fort Mackinac Never Sweats take on the Rochester Grangers in a match of vintage Base Ball on Saturday, July 20, at 6:30 p.m. on the old ball field behind Fort Mackinac.
“The vintage base ball game began in 2003 as a special event with the Summer of Sports, that numerous museums around Michigan took part in,” said Phil Porter, Mackinac State Historic Parks director. “We played a game of vintage base ball not knowing it would become an annual tradition. It is a fan favorite and really enjoyed by the staff and local residents that participate. It’s a fun way to share another chapter of Fort Mackinac’s really interesting part of history.”
The vintage base ball game showcases the game of “base ball” as it was meant to be played— barehanded and by gentlemen’s rules. Guests will learn an old-fashioned cheer, watch players fined for smoking cigars on the field, and enjoy a good old-fashioned rivalry. The players will also play using 1880s “base ball” terminology.
“The soldiers really did play base ball on the field out there and teams throughout Michigan,” said Porter. “Playing the Rochester Grangers is especially meaningful because they were the ones who taught us how to play. The Grangers are a museum based vintage base ball team, like ours, and the directors are each team’s captains, so it’s pretty cool. The Grangers really understand the importance of recreating the vintage base ball game, its historical significance and what we are trying to portray to the public.”
Currently used by boy and girl scouts across Michigan, since 1934, the field was originally utilized by Fort Mackinac soldiers dating back to the 1870s, who continued to develop the field until the fort closed in 1895. Local residents and summer workers played baseball at the “fort ball grounds” throughout the 20th century.
Cost of admission is $4 for adults, $2 for children ages 5–12, and free for children under 4 years-old or Mackinac Associate (excluding Heritage Level).
Visit mackinacparks.com for more information.
Mackinac State Historic Parks, a family of living history museums and parks in northern Michigan’s Straits of Mackinac, is an agency within the Michigan Department of Natural Resources. Its sites—which are accredited by the American Alliance of Museums—include Fort Mackinac, Historic Downtown Mackinac, The Richard and Jane Manoogian Mackinac Art Museum, and Mackinac Island State Park on Mackinac Island, and Colonial Michilimackinac, Old Mackinac Point Lighthouse, and Historic Mill Creek Discovery Park in Mackinaw City. Mackinac State Historic Parks is governed by the Mackinac Island State Park Commission, established in 1895 to protect, preserve and present the parks’ rich historic and natural resources for the education and recreation of future generations. Visitor information is available at (231) 436-4100 or on the web at www.mackinacparks.com.