Players take to field for Civil War-era base ball

Published 12:00 am Monday, November 17, 2003

NATCHEZ&045;&045;Long before the days of free agency and multi-million-dollar signing bonuses, baseball was spelled with two words and played without gloves by gentlemen who relied on each other’s honor to settle a close call.

That level of competition was revisited Saturday at Historic Jefferson College when the Natchez Democrats hosted the Carriage Hill Farm Clodbusters of Dayton, Ohio in a vintage baseball triple header.

Played under 1860s rules, the games at Jefferson College are named for the late historian Katherine Ann Allgood, whose son, Jim, manages the Democrats. &uot;We are reliving the game of baseball the way it was originally played,&uot; Jim Allgood said.

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The Democrats won two of the three games with the Clodbusters, including a 10-inning final game with a score of 12-9. Allgood said the Democrats &045;&045; most of whom play together on local softball teams &045;&045; hope to eventually gain sponsors and compete in vintage base ball tournaments in the North.

The Clodbusters were previously unbeaten and were champions of the Vintage Baseball World Series.

It was the third trip to Natchez for the Ohio team, which plays an average of 20 to 30 games per year.

Clodbuster third baseman Mark &uot;Mule&uot; Willis said he enjoys the friendly competition.

&uot;Even if you lose, you’re not mad at the other team,&uot; Willis said.

Under 1860s rules, balls caught on one hop record an out, and infielders &045;&045; except a rover &045;&045; must stay by their bases until the ball is hit.

In the first game, the Democrats turned a 6-4-2 double play to end the seventh inning, and won 6-5 on Jamie Fuqua’s bases-clearing, ‘inside the campus’ home run in the eighth.

Donning a top-hat and suspenders, Mickey &uot;The Lip&uot; Tangel of Long Island, N.Y., served as plate umpire. A former teacher, Tangel became involved in vintage base ball about 10 years ago when he visited Old Beth Page Village in New York for a game.

Tangel and park historian Clark Burkett talked about the history of base ball this week at local schools, the Lions Club and the Natchez Senior Citizen Multipurpose Center. &uot;This teaching is for the love of the game.

The kids enjoy it so much,&uot; Tangel said.