NORTH PLATTE, Neb. (KNOP) - The Buffalo Bill Ranch State Historical Park threw it back to the 19th century on Saturday by hosting vintage baseball.
Vintage baseball is played with baseball rules from 1864 (Credit: Patrick Johnstone/KNOP-TV)
Vintage baseball is played using rules from 1864. With these old school rules, some position names are changed; a batter is a 'striker,' a pitcher is a 'hurler,' and a catcher is a 'behind,' and the ball is called an 'orb.'
Other notable differences to modern baseball rules is the fielders do not use a glove, but the ball is softer, and an out can still be recorded if a catch is made on the bounce. Runners can still advance as normal if an out is made on a bounce. Runners can not run through first base, even when trying to leg out a base hit, they have to stop on the base. Also, when a batter is walked, all runners automatically advance one base.
For the past three years, the Colorado Frontier vintage baseball team has been coming to North Platte for this annual event.
All of the players on the team go by a nickname. George "Pack Rat" Orlowsky has been playing vintage baseball for 20 years, but this was his first time able to make the trip to North Platte to participate. Orlowsky said the event holds significance to history-buffs.
"Well, if you have an interest in history, or if history is important to you... you can read books, books are great, you can watch movies, but when we play baseball, it's like living history," Orlowsky said.
Orlowsky also said one thing he loves about playing is the game is always held in a grass field, not a traditional manicured baseball diamond. For him, running on a grass field, which could have imperfections you have to be cautious when playing.
Orlowsky called sliding in vintage baseball "un-gentlemanly," and said it is discouraged.
Mixed in with players from the Colorado Frontier were North Platte fans who were attending the game.
"This is absolutely wonderful, because it brings people out to the park, they see what a beautiful park we have out here at Buffalo Bill Ranch State Historical Park, and it gets the community involved. For the price of a park permit, come out and have a good time. We just invite people to come out and have a good time. Bring your family, this is family friendly," said Lois Lynes-Miles, who works at Buffalo Bill Ranch, and was dressed as Louisa Cody, Bill's wife, for the event.
The event is an annual one, and fans who wish to get involved can expect it to return in August of 2020.