Thorn: How boys made baseballs and bats years ago

From SABR member John Thorn at Our Game on October 18, 2017:

“Baseball is a different game today than when I was a boy,” said the veteran. “When we boys played in the field behind the barn, we used a. homemade baseball and a bat cut from the nearby woods.

“To make a baseball we used an orange, an old rubber boot, an old leather boot and an old woolen stocking and button sewing thread from the family sewing basket, or waxed ends from a friendly cobbier.

“At Christmas time we began to plan for our Fourth of July game. We got our orange then. When I was a youngster oranges were so scarce that we had them only once a year, and that at Christmas time, when Santa Claus dropped one in our stocking.

“The peel was prized by a boy almost as much as the fruit itself. It was always carefully taken off in quarters and pieces of paper were cut to accurately fit each quarter. These pieces of paper were laid away carefully, for, later, they would serve as a pattern for our baseball cover.”

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Originally published: October 18, 2017. Last Updated: October 18, 2017.