Enjoy Old-Time Baseball at Washington Park

Oakland Public LIbrary, Oakland History Room
Oakland Public LIbrary, Oakland History Room

Enjoy Old-Time Baseball at Washington Park

Dennis Evanosky

This Saturday, July 11, the Oakland Colonels will treat Alamedans to a base ball (two words, please) game that follows 1886 rules and etiquette. The players will use 1886 equipment and just might remind you of the base ball team pictured above.

The game will take place at noon against the Barbary Coast team at Washington Park’s Upper Baseball Diamond.

The organization hosting the event, Bay Area Vintage Baseball (BAVBB), plays by the rules of the Spalding 1886 rulebook and strives for historical accuracy. BAVBB uses 12-member clubs to play 12 to 15 games a season, in a fun, relaxed atmosphere where true grit is displayed and sportsmanship is the Holy Grail.

Each team is outfitted in reproduction uniforms from the 1880s, and the equipment consists of reproduction balls, gloves, bases and more that are made to look, feel and perform as they did when the game was still home-grown.

Saturday’s game hearkens back to the time when Oakland’s Greenhood & Moran clothing store team, “The G&Ms,” (pictured above) played ball at the Alameda Athletic and Baseball Grounds across Central Avenue from Washington Park between Page and Webster streets.

The team joined California Base Ball League in 1886, the same year the rules were instituted that the Colonels will follow in Saturday’s game.

That’s manager Tom Robinson in his suit in the middle surrounded by his starting nine players: (top row, left to right): infielders Tom McCord and Fred Lange, outfielder George Fisher.

Seated in the middle row with Robinson, (left to right): pitchers George Van Haltren and George “Chief” Borcher, along with infielders Billy Smalley and Jack Ryan.

In the front row is catcher James A. McDonald, left, and outfielder Danny Long. McDonald’s extra-large dark shirt covers his “body armor” or chest protector.

Reach Dennis Evanosky at editor@alamedasun.com.