Neshanock Win NY/NJ Cup

Reposted from “A Manly Pastime-A Base Ball History Blog”
By John Z.

Battle at Bethpage

Photo by Mark Granieri

Base ball, of course, has no birthplace, but vintage base ball is of, well, more recent vintage so more is know about its origins.  My good friend Eric Miklich once told me that Old Bethpage Village on Long Island is the place where the on-the-field recreation of the early game began and while Eric isn’t always right, he’s never in doubt.  The game continues to be played at this restored village including a four team tournament in April and a much larger two day event in early August.  Saturday marked the renewal of the four team, one day tournament known as the New York – New Jersey Cup.  I believe for some time the Neshanock were the only participating New Jersey club joining the New York Mutuals (the home team) plus some other New York clubs, most frequently the Gotham Club of New York.  However when the Hoboken Nine starting participating, I think three years ago, it became a more geographically balanced field with the two New Jersey clubs playing each of their New York counterparts.

Photo by Mark Granieri

The Neshanock won the 2013 version, I believe, the first time, a New Jersey club took the cup home and retained it last year when the 2014 event was rained out.  So Saturday saw the Neshanock and Hoboken Clubs making the journey out to Old Bethpage under sunny and warmer than usual conditions.  In their first match, the Neshanock drew the Gothams who fielded a very strong team, bringing back a number of their fine players from prior years.  As with last week’s Neshanock-Resolutes game it was a well played, relatively low scoring match especially given it’s still early in the season.  This was, in fact, the Gothams first match of 2015.

Photo by Mark Granieri

The pitching and defense of both squads was so strong that no  tallies were scored until the top of the fourth when the Gothams scored two aces.  Flemington quickly cut the lead in half in the bottom of the inning and after blanking the Gothams in the top of the fifth, scored three times for a 4-2 lead after five.  The New York club also answered quickly tying the score at 4-4, but the Neshanocks regained the lead in the bottom of the inning and led 5-4 after six.  Strong pitching and continued good defense kept the Gothams off the score board in the 7th and 8th while Flemington added three more runs for a 8-4 lead headed to the ninth.  However, the Gothams are always dangerous and no one on the Neshanocks was entirely comfortable even after there were two out with one on.  Two straight hits plated two runs before a ground out ended the game for a 8-6 Flemington victory. Danny “Batman” Shaw, Mark “Gaslight” Granieri and Chris “Low Ball” Lowry led the Neshanock attack with three hits apiece.  Right behind this trio were Tom “Thumbs” Hoepfner, Brad “Brooklyn” Shaw and Scott “Snuffy” Hengst with two each.  The Neshanock defense backed up “Brooklyn’s” strong pitching, making only two errors over the course of the match.

Photo by Mark Granieri

The Neshanock’s second contest was with the host club, the New York Mutuals who had topped the Hoboken Nine, 16-14 in the other morning match.  With the two morning winners playing in the afternoon contest, it was a winner take all affair.  Flemington continued to support strong pitching with good defense, but this time the Neshanock offense also got going scoring nine times in the first two innings for a 9-2 lead, adding one more in the fourth to lead 10-2 after five.  In the last four innings Flemington broke things open scoring 11 times while holding the Mutuals to only two more tallies for a convincing 21-4 triumph in a successful defense of the Cup.  Every Neshanock player made at least two hits with five different players getting three apiece.  Included in the latter group were Dave “Illinois” Harris, Rene “Mango” Marerro and Tom “Thumbs” Hoepfner who joined “Gaslight” and “Low Ball” who repeated their feat of the morning game.  Both “Mango” and “Thumbs” hit home runs in the contest.  All told the Neshanock left only five runners on base, but, in this case, that’s not as positive a statistic as it might seem as five of Flemington’s nine at bats ended with a base runner making the last out.

Photo by Mark Granieri

In the other afternoon match, the Gothams defeated the Hoboken Club 21-9.  It was a good day of base ball under pleasant, but a trifle warm conditions.  The Neshanock are, obviously, very pleased to retain the Cup and look forward to a return visit to Old Bethpage, the beginning of August.  Off to their best start in years, with a 4-1 record, next Saturday, Flemington journeys to Monmouth University for a match with some college students.


MAVBBL Set To Kick Off the 2015 Season

Its Spring time and that means the return of 19th century base ball to the Mid Atlantic region.  In 2015, a record 24 clubs will be in action this year from Virginia to Rhode Island.  The Bog Iron Boys from Allaire Village, New Jersey have been added to the League and will compete in the Empire Conference to take on veteran clubs including the Brooklyn Atlantics, New York Mutuals, Flemington Neshanock, Providence Grays, New York Gothams and Hoboken Nine to name a few.

This year’s schedule for just about every club is now posted.  Some highlights of the upcoming year include clubs participating in the Philadelphia Festival, the Smithtown, NY 350th Anniversary Base Ball Festival, the Gettysburg National 19th Century Base Ball Festival, the Cream City Classic in Wisconsin, the Silver Ball Tournament in Mumford, NY; the Omegang Brewery Festival in Cooperstown, the Old Time Base Ball Festival in OldBethapage, NY and the MAVBBL Championship Tournament that will be held in Kennett Square, PA at the end of the season.

Make sure to check back weekly for score updates, schedule changes as well as directions to fields and write ups each week.

If you are looking to play contact us and we’ll put you in touch with a club.  We are also actively looking for people who want to start clubs in Lancaster, York, Gettysburg, Allentown and Scranton, PA; southern New Jersey, Fredericksburg and Richmond, VA, and West Virginia.

We hope to see you either out on the diamond or in the stands rooting on your favorite club!

Banner Year for the MAVBBL

As the 2014 season winds down, we look back on the banner year for the MAVBBL.  A record 24 clubs participated in the MAVBBL this year which encompasses just about every club that plays vintage base ball from Washington DC all the way up to New York and even Rhode Island.  A record number of 19th century matches were played in the region this year as well.  This year, clubs showed the American public how base ball was played back in its formative years with clips on Comcast Sports Net, PBS and many local news channels all over the region.  They were featured in print on, the New York Times, Philadelphia Inquirer, and so many others.

Clubs this year also traveled more than in years past showing the American public the authenticity of the game that each member pledges to hold up.  Member clubs played in the following tournaments and festivals:  The Silver Ball Tournament in Rochester, NY; the World Championships of Base Ball in Greenfield, MI; the Gettysburg National 19th Century Base Ball Festival; the New York/New Jersey Cup, the Pennsylvania Cup; the Delaware Cup; the Maryland State Championship Series; the Strasburg Rail Road Tournament (Fall and Spring); the Berks Vintage Base Ball Festival in Reading, PA; the Old Tyme Base Ball Festival in Old Bethpage, NY; the Philadelphia Base Ball Festival; the Ommegang Brewery Festival in Cooperstown, NY; the Pennock Cup in Kennett Square, PA; the Gotham Cup in New York City; Old Dutch Day in Smithtown, NY; Dover Days in Dover, DE; and Jackie Robinson Day, Philadelphia, PA to name a few of the bigger events.

If you are interested in playing next year for one of the 24 clubs please contact us.  Most clubs are always looking for players and some are in dire need of more players.  You don’t have to be an ex-pro player or a former softball all-star, just a love of the history of baseball and the desire to meet a lot of similar people from all over the region.  If there isn’t a club near you and you’d like to start one, contact us.  We have a strong desire to start clubs in Virginia (Richmond, Norfolk, Fredericksburg); Pennsylvania (especially in the Gettysburg, Lancaster/York region as well as Scranton/Wilkes-Barre and Allentown areas); western Maryland, and southern New Jersey as well as Connecticut.

A big HURRAH to all the players who participated this year.  We do hope that 2015 will be even better as we learn more every day how base ball was played in the 19th century and we set out to show the country the correct way to play.

Elkton Hoists Pennock Cup

Unionville, PA– The 1st Pennock Cup named in honor of Kennett Square’s own Hall of Famer, Herb Pennock was played Sunday, October 19th at the Walker Polo Fields just outside of Kennett Square.  8 clubs from the Federal Conference of the MAVBBL participated in a great event hosted by the Mohican BBC.

In the first round the Diamond State BBC of Delaware defeated the Delaware City Atlas while the hosts downed the Athletic BBC of Philadelphia.  In the other bracket, Elkton downed the Brandywine BBC of West Chester while the Excelsiors from Milford (with help from the Talbot Fair Plays and Harrisburg Keystones) downed the Washington Capital Stars.  In the semi finals Delaware beat Kennett Square while Elkton knocked off Milford setting up a much anticipated final.

In the championship, the Eclipse defeated the Diamond States 12-10 in a close one to take home the Cup.  Great job by the Mohican BBC and others for putting on a quality event to end the season!


Pennock Cup to be Sunday October 19th

Unionville, PA– 8 clubs primarily from the eastern conference (Federal Conference) will be squaring off in the inaugural Pennock Cup named after Kennett Square’s own Hall of Famer, Herb Pennock.  Pennock the ace pitcher for the 1927 Yankees and architect of the Philadelphia Wiz Kids as a General Manager, died suddenly in 1948.

The match will take place at the Unionville Polo Grounds and will feature each club playing 3 7 inning games.  Losers of the first round drop to the Reserve Champion Bracket, while losers of the 2nd Round drop to Place games.  Clubs expected to participate including the host Mohican BBC of Kennett Square, the Brandywine BBC of West Chester, the Diamond State BBC of Delaware, the Milford Excelsiors with help from the Talbot Fair Plays, the Athletic BBC of Philadelphia, the Eclipse BBC of Elkton, the Washington Capital Stars and the Atlas BBC of Delaware City with help from the Minerva Club of Bridgeton.

Fans who come out will get to witness how base ball was played in 1864 before million dollar contracts, televisions,…and gloves.  Bring your picnic baskets, lawn chairs, and blankets and step back in to time.

Fall Strasburg Rail Road Tourney Success

Lancaster, PA– 410 spectators came out and took a ride on the Strasburg Rail Road a mile out to the Verdant Farm to witness a perfect Fall day of 19th century base ball.  In 2 years, the Strasburg Rail Road Tournaments have drawn quite an audience as teams who play in the event are drawn back in time with the fans.  There is nothing to remind anyone of the 21st century as spectators pile out of 19th century train cars to witness 4 clubs each Spring and Fall.   This Fall was no exception as Harrisburg, Elkton, Rising Sun and Philadelphia squared off in 3 games each during the day.  While the scores were not the important factor of the day, Elkton flexed its muscles and won all 3 of its matches quite handily.  Harrisburg downed Rising Sun 6-2 to reach the finals.  After losing to Elkton in the championship, they turned around and defeated Philadelphia in their third match.  Rising Sun came back and won the 3rd place game against Philadelphia while dropping its finale to Elkton.

Any clubs interested in one of the two Strasburg Rail Road Tournaments in May and October next year, contact the Elkton club for more information.

Atlantic Competes in World Base Ball Tournament

The Atlantic Base Ball Club answered the call of the World Tournament held in Dearborn, Michigan this past weekend.  Teams gathered to recreate an actual tournament that occurred in 1867 with a $300 top prize, just like it was back then!  Half of the team traveled by carriage while the other half was hurled through the air in a tin can yet somehow arrived safely many states away.


The Atlantics first round opponents in the single elimination tournament were the Petoskey Mossback BBC.  The Atlantics took the field first and although a batter reached base he could not make his ace.  When it was the Atlantics turn to bat, bat they did.  Seven tallies were counted before three hands were down.  The Mossbacks had difficulty getting hits off of Ed “Pigtail’ Elmore’s pitching while the Atlantics scored five more aces in the third inning and four more in the fifth.  The Mossbacks eventually scored an ace in the fifth and one more in the seventh but it was too late as the Atlantics prevailed by the score of 18-2.  Great defense was played at every position to keep the Mossback base runners to a minimum.  Richard ‘Cuz’ Baruso, Frank ‘Shakespeare’ Van Zant, Dean ‘Dreambucket’ Emma and Kevin ‘Flash’ Harrison all had three hits to help the Atlantics move on to the second round.


Awaiting us in the second round was another Brooklyn team, the Walker Tavern Wheels BBC (Brooklyn, Michigan) who had just defeated the Columbus Buckeyes.  The defenses of both squads started strong with the game scoreless into the bottom half of the third inning.  There the Atlantic offense burst out scoring six aces from singles by ‘Tricky’ Rick Stattler, Mike ‘Money’ Hill, Vincent ‘Tuna’ Aurora, a triple by Anthony ‘Dirty Pirate’ Cannino, more singles by Shakespeare, Dreambucket, Sean ‘Toothpick’ Ness and a double by Flash.  The wheels seemed to come off for the Tavern Wheels as they had runners on second and third with one out in the second inning, a runner on third in the third inning with no outs, runners on first and third with two outs in the sixth inning, and the bases loaded with two outs in the seventh inning but could not tally an ace in all of those opportunities. The pitching of Tuna and some good defense kept the Tavern Wheels from scoring just a single run until the last inning where they mounted their last attack to keep their championship dreams alive.  After scoring three aces, with one out a sizzling line drive flew off the bat that Money knocked down at second base and threw to first for the second out and snuffing the spirit of the comeback.  The Atlantics held on for the 10-4 victory and a trip to the semi-final match on Sunday.

Shakespeare led the Atlantics with three hits, while Greg ‘Hawk’ Dengel, Dreambucket, Toothpick and Flash each had two hits as well.


The semi-final match on Sunday morning was against the Bay City Independents BBC and would decide who would play later that day against the winner of the Columbus Capitals and Saginaw Old Golds BBC.

The Bay City team came out strong with three aces in the first inning, but the Atlantics responded with one ace of their own in the first and four more in the second on a bases clearing triple by Cuz.  Bay City got one back in the third inning and the Atlantics kept the pressure up by scoring three more with a double by the Dirty Pirate and singles by Shakespeare, Dreambucket and Flash.  The Bay City Boys kept their heads up though and scored five aces in the fourth, three more in the fifth and one more in the sixth to take the lead.  In the seventh inning, Matt ‘Krawler’ Kouyoumdjian cut down a runner at home on a base hit to right field but it would not be enough as the Atlantics fell by the score of 13-9.

The Dirty Pirate led the Atlantics with three hits and three aces, while Shakespeare, Hawk and Krawler each contributed two hits a piece.


Although the Atlantics did not reach the championships they did not go home empty handed.  The team was awarded the ‘Farthest Traveled’ prize and two Atlantic marksmen, Tuna and Flash were awarded 2nd and 3rd place in the Throwing Accuracy competition.