Jeff Kent and Brady Anderson Played an Old-Timey Baseball Game

| | Comments (15)

billleebats.jpg

This past weekend, two of our best and brightest commenters decided to attend a very special event out on the West Coast. Farthammer and Phillas were kind enough to document their trip to see some former big league stars participate in an old-timey baseball exhibition game. If you've ever wondered what Kevin Maas was up to, here's your chance to find out. Below, please enjoy the words and photos courtesy of Mssrs. Farthammer and Phillas:




Phillas and I, on a tip from Rob, decided to attend the Legends of Baseball Vintage Showdown in San Jose, CA. What is Vintage Baseball, you ask? Well, I will tell you as best I can. Vintage Baseball is comprised of a federation of teams from around the country who decided to play baseball as it was in the late 1800s. Since these teams are made of old white guys with day jobs like "day trader" or "Regional Manager at coupons.com" (actual job listed on the program for a player), it is actually a pretty accurate portrayal of 1890s base ball (it was two words back then).

Normally these teams play one another, but Saturday we got a special treat. The Stogies of Santa Clara County (a regular Vintage team) organized a charity game against some retired "Legends" of baseball. Amongst these Legends are HOFers like Vida Blue, Rollie Fingers, Gaylord Perry and Jeff Kent. They also had Brady Anderson, who is legendary for his sideburns.

legendslineup.JPG
From L-R: Vida Blue, Gaylord Perry, Bill Lee, Lee Smith, Darryl Fatty Fat Fat Evans, Jeff Kent, then a bunch of dudes I can't identify

Lemme give you a run down of some antiquated rules, terms, and equipment used by these jamooks (all research done by Farthammer and phillas was carried out by tracking down officials of the league and interviewing them. When we realized that wouldn't work, we googled.) Please continue after the jump.

EQUIPMENT - Uniforms are super baggy, most likely woven from burlap sacks the Yankees donated from their surplus of baby-stealing sacks. The Yankees would drink the blood of the youth to appease their dark lord Beelzebub, which is how they became so dominant. Mitts were a new-found novelty in the late 1800s; players would come to the games straight from working in the fields or at the factory, so they used said gloves to play ball. You are probably saying to yourself "wow, work gloves don't seem like they offer much padding or have any webbing." Well guess what, dmac and NJPANick- you are right. We'll talk about that later. Bats were usually over 40 oz and were 36 inches in length. The handle was almost as fat as the end of the bat. The ball itself was bigger than today's ball, had lemon-peel shaped stitching and was the only ball used for the entire game. This was because the hand-stitched balls were expensive, so teams couldn't afford more than one.

TERMS - Wow, these are wacky. I won't list all of them, but here are some choice ones:


  • Artist - a good player
  • Basetender - Infielder
  • Boodler - Ungentlemanly play
  • Bowler/Hurler/Feeder - Pitcher
  • Ginger - Enthusiastic play
  • Muckle - Power Hitter (I want this term to come back)
  • Muffin - Enthusiastic but unskilled player (Eckstein is a muffin!)
  • Rover - SS
  • "Show a little ginger" - play harder or smarter
  • Striker - Hitter
  • Whitewash - this can either be used to describe an entire no-hitter, or just holding a team scoreless for one inning

RULES - Even wackier than terms. Check out some of this tomfoolery:


  • 7 balls for a walk, 3 strikes for an out
  • Foul balls are not strikes, but if one was caught after only one bounce it was an out
  • Every batter gets to pick either a high strike zone or low strike zone to be called on them by the umpire. High = belt to shoulders. Low = belt to knees.
  • Bean Balls are not walks. They are simply counted as balls.
  • No balk rule, so "quick pitches" and "fake pitches" are legal. So is the Rookie of the Year hidden-ball trick!
  • If the umpire misses a call, he can consult with players or the fans (!) for help.
  • There is only one umpire, and he stands 15-20 feet away to the side of the catcher.
  • He also wears old-west formal wear (red vest, pocket watch, gray slacks, black cowboy hat, black trench coat) and smokes a cigar.

THE GAME

Remember how I said they used tiny-ass gardening gloves? Well imagine trying to field a throw from SS, or catch a line drive with those things. Basically these guys play baseball bare-handed. The top of the first inning consisted of 11 runs scored by the Stogies off of Gaylord Perry. They scored these runs with ground balls and weak pop-ups because everyone was scared of the ball. Apparently this is what actually used to happen all the time. The same hand stitched ball being used for every pitch and heavy-ass bats meant that HRs were extremely rare, so everyone scores on basehits and gets super-aggressive on the basepaths. It's like Joe Morgan's wet dream (BONUS JOE MORGAN RELATED STORY AT THE END). After the Legends were retired 1-2-3 in the bottom of the first, we all feared a rout. However, the umpire assured us the Legends would come back, since every game started this way apparently. Sure enough, shit evened out. I will touch upon some highlights instead of relaying every play:


  • Jeff Kent lets his competitiveness show even in a charity game. At different points, he A) kicked the ball away from a fielder to advance to third, and B) tackled an opposing runner to slow him down. (The tackle was harlem-globetrotter style and all in good fun, but still. It was a good hit and totally saved a run)
  • I forgot to add this in the rules section, but the bases are not secured to the ground. They are just bags of dirt placed on the ground. This caused some hijinks to ensue when players would kick the bag or pick them up.
  • Vince Coleman pulled a hamstring and had to be escorted off the field
  • We had an official FIST call by the announcer
  • The Stogies took a game against 70-year olds way too seriously. I think their pitcher was hitting 80 mph at one point from 55 ft.
  • Brady Anderson pitched at one point for the Stogies, and threw fucking hard.
  • The last play of the game was actually pretty cool. Stogies were down 15-14 and had runners on 1st and 3rd with 2 outs. Dude ripped a ground ball that Jeff Kent stabbed at 2nd - it was the only hard grounder fielded all day. He flipped to SS just in time to get the out and save the game. He jumped for joy and was in no way kidding. He was totally excited to win a fake game of fake baseball.

legendswin.jpg

Also, Brady Anderson was traded before the game to the Stogies for the Stogies catcher and a big bag of fake cash (not a joke)

andersontrade.JPG

Kevin Maas legged out a triple, and the Stogies manager wheeled out a huge Oxygen tank to help him catch his breath:

oxygenmaas.JPG

NON-GAME RELATED HIGHLIGHTS


  • Beers were $5. This is far cheaper than regular games, and we took advantage of this fact. We also pounded 24s of Pacifico in the parking lot, just so we could say we tailgated at a weird charity event
  • They held a charity auction during the game. Phillas told me there was a signed Joe Morgan ball whose only bid was for like $80, amongst other cool memorabilia. I went to check it out and noticed that on almost every item, the same guy had the top bid. Said man's name was Harry Lerner. I saw someone had topped his Joe Morgan bid with $120. As soon as I saw this, a small italian-looking man with hair on his neck, a mustache, a gold chain, and a Giants Jersey pushed past me. He grabbed a pen and the Joe Morgan sheet, and angrily scrawled LERNER in all caps with a bid of $150. HE WOULD NOT BE DENIED
  • There was a Bill Buckner ball I really wanted to buy and mail to Liakos. But I didn't feel like spending $100 on a ball I would give away. Also, LERNER had the top bid and I didn't want to piss him off.
  • There is a Rotten Robbie billboard in right field. This is a direct reference to Iracane. SUCK IT ROB
  • We saw one vendor. He sold Churros. HE SOLD THEM HARD. He wouldn't take no for an answer from anyone. I am pretty sure he was paid on commission. At one point phillas took a picture of him, and he was so happy he gave phillas a churro for free.

churroguy.jpg

(for more photos, check out Bruce Newman's coverage at the San Jose Mercury News)


PREVIOUS: LCS Day Four: The Three Most Important People   |   NEXT: New USS Mariner iPhone App Will Help You Be Even More Annoying

15 Comments

Bean Balls are not walks. They are simply counted as balls.
Today's players are pussies.

Vince Coleman pulled a hamstring and had to be escorted off the field Even old Mets are not immune from the Met curse of 09

Good work fellas.

Bean Balls are not walks. They are simply counted as balls.
Today's players are pussies.

Vince Coleman pulled a hamstring and had to be escorted off the field Even old Mets are not immune from the Met curse of 09

Good work fellas.

Even Guy Clark is not immune to the Mets curse!!!

Though Guy Clark's grammar is far better than my own. Hell, even Vince Coleman expresses his thoughts more clearly than me.

Sounds like a nice first date. Nice work fellas.

Also, this seems appropriate

http://www.break.com/usercontent/2006/8/1864-baseball-w-Conan-OBrien-141725.html

Holy crap it's like you guys could read my mind. Playing ball in mittens is no joke!

Good job, Bay Area posse.

Great great great job by two of the original WoWies here, folks. I really wish I could have attended but this seems like the sort of thing that would never happen anywhere in the state of New Jersey, as we have no sense of whimsy or irony or anything except pure unadulterated bitterness.

George Lopez is selling Churros? That guy is everywhere

I thought Brady Anderson was trapped in a closet. I guess not...

Great work dudes.

I waited until our third date before throwing the "Show a little ginger" line at my wife.

Really fantastic job, guys. Great recap of what I'm sure was a blast of a day.

Thanks for all the kind words, everyone! If anyone can figure out why the ball was referred to as "lemon-peel shaped" and what the fuck that means, please let me know.

This was awesome. Both the event, and this post.

Absolutely fantastic event with a special thank you to everyone who supported and watched the game. Gaylord Perry, Vida Blue, Rollie Fingers, Lee Smith and Blue Moon Odom all on one bench at the same time?! PRICELESS!
Now for some specifics: A Lemon-peel ball refers to the type of ball used. The stitching and make-up of the ball are larger than a modern day ball with the stitching forming a 't' at one end and breaking off into 4 seems that do not cover the entire ball, leaving an opening at one end. Very hard to make it curve in anyway, and very hard to hit over 300ft.
Brady Anderson did not hit a triple, he hit an inside the park home run (which were the only home runs back in 1886). Scott L. is in that picture above about to receive the oxygen tank.
Stogies pitching - The only member of the Stogies hurling crew to hit 80mph in the game was Brady Anderson. I was the starting pitcher and would never risk breaking my catchers hand by throwing a lemon peel ball 80+. As for taking it seriously... maybe next year, but this game was just ball players having fun with each other.
The game was made to be fun, and that's what it ended up being for everyone involved. You couldn't have asked for a better ending to a great day. FYI - Kent finished the game off himself by not only making a great play at 2nd, but tagging the base a split second before I got there.

Sounds like those $5 beers went down smoothly! Thanks again for everyone who supported this event and we look forward to seeing you at next year's which is going to be bigger & better!

One more note: Bill "The Spaceman" Lee was the Legends starting pitcher, not Gaylord Perry as previously written. Perry was on the hill at the beginning of the 2nd inning.

I beg to differ on what hazard said.........He CAN throw 80 mph. But Im sure he wasnt humming like he normally does. Looks like fun fellas, we shall see you all next year. Hopefully we get to play eachother more than once cause I love the rivalry. And Hazard sorry about the slide, didnt mean any harm. Crushers shall see you in 2010

Leave a comment