About Vintage Base Ball

Vintage base ball players at Old World Wisconsin.

Cheer for Vintage Base Ball!

Click to see transcript and watch video.

Learn more about Vintage Base Ball in this brief documentary about the Eagle Diamonds.

What is Vintage Base Ball?

Vintage base ball at Old World Wisconsin is the re-creation of the styles, speech, rules and terminology of the 1860s and '70s game. It's not only a competitive game, but also a re-enactment of baseball life, similar to an American Civil War re-enactment.

Back then, the game's name was two words rather than one. Vintage base ball incorporates historical details enjoyed by both players ("ballists") and fans (also known as "the audience"). Players in baggy uniforms wield fat-handled bats at lemon peel-stitched balls. No one wears gloves and there are no strike zones. Above all, it's a gentleman's game in which there is no showboating or taunting, and the umpire is always addressed as "Sir." Learn more vintage terminology.

Vintage base ball is a fast-growing sport in the United States. Up until the early 2000s, the game had been mostly a local phenomenon, with clubs playing weekend games in open parks under a variety of rules. Now there are 225 clubs in 32 states.

Vintage Base Ball at Old World Wisconsin

The Eagle Diamonds, based on the Waukesha Diamonds team, which organized in 1868 and played through the 1870s, formed in 2005 at Old World Wisconsin. The team will begin its 10th season of play in 2014. Competing in well-documented uniforms inspired by those the team wore in an original 1874 Waukesha Diamonds photograph, the players use the same rules of that era. With its unkempt field, underhand pitching and no gloves, the scores can be extremely high. The Eagle Diamonds are joined by the Greenbush Dead Citys, The Milwaukee Cream Citys and the Milwaukee Grays as charter members of the 19th-Century Base Ball Clubs of Wisconsin.

Vintage baseball.

Game Admission is Included with Museum Admission

Load the car with friends and family and come out to Old World Wisconsin for some old-fashioned base ball; your museum admission also admits you to the game at no extra charge!