WISCONSIN HISTORICAL SOCIETY

Historic Base Ball Overview

What is Historic Baseball?

Historic baseball at Old World Wisconsin is the re-creation of the styles, speech, rules and terminology of the 1870s game. It’s not only a competitive game, but also a re-enactment of baseball life in early America.

The Old World Wisconsin team, the Eagle Diamonds, is based on the Waukesha Diamonds team, which organized in 1868 and played through the 1870s. Competing in well-documents uniforms inspired by those the team wore in an original 1874 Waukesha Diamonds photograph, the players use the exact same rules of that era. With its unkempt field, underhand pitching and no gloves, the scores can be extremely high!

2019 Schedule

July 6
Starts at 1:30pm
Watch the Eagle Diamonds play a game the old-fashioned way against the Pabst Farms YMCA Special Olympics team!

CANCELED: July 20 
Starts at 1:30pm
This event has been canceled due to the extreme heat warning for the weekend.

Baseball player is waiting for the pitch
Player drops the bat after hitting the ball in play

Baseball in Waukesha

By the late 1860s and early 1870s base ball was being played throughout the state on summer afternoons. Communities established their own teams, which challenged those from surrounding towns.

Learn the History of Waukesha Baseball >>

Historic Rules

The rules used by our team are the same rules that guided the late 1860s and 1870s teams. See them in practice at our historic baseball games. These historic rules, using historic terminology, add a new — or rather old — dimension to the game.

  • The player is out if the ball is in the hands of a base tender before the runner steps on the base.
  • If two ballists are already out no player running home at the time the ball is struck can make ace if the striker is put out.
  • The hurler must pitch not jerk or throw to the bat.
  • The hurler must deliver the ball as near as possible over the center of home for the striker.
  • Foul balls do not count as strikes.
  • The striker is out after swinging and missing three balls if the behind catches the third strike on the fly or first bounce.
  • If the behind does not catch the third strike on the fly or the first bounce, the striker may try to make first base.
  • Any ball first touching the ground or touched by a player within the base lines is fair, even if it goes foul thereafter.
  • An ace shall be tallied when a base runner steps on the home base.
  • Outs are made when a foul ball is caught on the fly or first bounce or when a fair ball is caught on the fly only.
  • No person engaged in a match, either as umpire, scorer or player shall be, either directly or indirectly, interested in any bet upon the game.
  • Clubs may adopt rules respecting balls knocked beyond the bounds of the field as the circumstances of the ground may demand.

Source: Haney’s Baseball Book of Reference by Henry Chadwick, 1867