New York Gothams play baseball as it was once played

From Jonathan Zeller at Sports on Earth on October 22, 2013, with mention of SABR member Brad Shaw:

“Smoke has his head up his ass.”

Ben “Collector” Levinsohn, an outfielder and team historian for the New York Gothams, is not happy with his teammate, Chip “Smoke” David, who’s been picked off of first base.

Collector is in full-on 19th-Century baseball regalia — engineer cap, heavy long-sleeved shirt, and bib. He’s playing on a field that the Gothams and their opponents, the Flemington Neshanock, specifically chose because it’s at Fourth Avenue and Third Street, where the Dodgers’ Washington Park stood in the late 1800s. He’s been able to steal nine bases in the first half of this doubleheader because the old rules put catchers at a severe disadvantage against decent base runners.

At this moment, though, his mouth is definitely in 2013. Is that authentic 1860s slang?

“I haven’t read it in any newspaper accounts from the time,” he says dryly.

Such is a Saturday afternoon with the Gothams, who do their best to emulate baseball as it was once played.

* * *

If you’ve seen Late Night with Conan O’Brien, or if you read Smithsonian Magazine 15 years ago, you basically know what vintage baseball entails. Civil War-era uniforms. Outdated rules. The occasional spectator in a big hoop skirt. Following the 1864 rules, fielders don’t wear gloves, pitchers toss underhand, and balls caught on one bound are outs.

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Originally published: October 22, 2013. Last Updated: October 22, 2013.