By Marty Rosenbaum

Baseball has come a long way over the years. As a sport that easily waxes nostalgic, the history of the sport plays an important role.

The Thames Base Ball Club in New London, CT is a group of baseball enthusiasts that gathers to play the game they love. The one difference about this group? They abide by baseball’s 1861 rules!

A quick perusal of their rules shows several fascinating differences compared to today.

No gloves
Ball has a diameter 1/4″ bigger and different stitching than today’s baseball
Pitching mound is 45 feet from home plate
Ball is pitched underhand, must be released at the waist or below, speed is up to the pitcher
Batter is warned once for not swinging at a good pitch before ump starts calling strikes
No walks
Foul balls are not strikes
Catching the ball on one bounce is an out – this includes foul tips that are caught by the catcher on one bounce and muffed fly catches that only bounce once before being caught

Check out a video documenting the group to see how baseball was played in its earliest days.


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