Rochesterfest wraps up with ‘1860s Base Ball’ tradition

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(ABC 6 News) – Rochesterfest wrapped up on Sunday with the traditional 1860s Base Ball game at the History Center of Olmsted County.

"We play by the rules of 1860 when baseball was first developed and so we have no gloves and it’s not because we’re trying to be tough. They weren’t invented yet," captain and manager of the Roosters Base Ball Club of Rochester Corky Gaskell said.

America’s pastime is more than 200 years old and its history is still being taught today.

"We want to teach the baseball players in town a little bit about the history of the game and they usually have a blast doing it.."It’s just a nice way to show people what baseball was," Gaskell said.

Roosters Base Ball Club has been bringing education, entertainment and fun to the community for the past 27 years.

"Base ball being two words because that’s how it was in 1860," Gaskell said. "It’s something that not a lot of towns have. It allows us to teach the history of the game. We want people to understand the game they’re watching today in modern baseball isn’t always the way it was. It was quite a bit different."

Everyone wants in on the fun, whether you’re in the shade watching the games or taking part in old-time baseball.

"Even though it’s not historically accurate, we thought it would be kind of fun to include the Roosters’ girlfriends, wives, friends in some of this," Renae Sander "Grumpy" said.

The women formed the Hens vs Chicks game, Sander being one of the three remaining original Hens.

"We’re basically comic relief. No one really cares how we play," she said. "It’s a fun way for us to show a little bit more of history."

The equipment used has changed over time. The bats and baseballs used to be a lot bigger.

"Swinging as hard as they could with the biggest piece of lumber they could and making the best of it," Gaskell said.

"There’s no gloves. We catch the ball in our apron which is super fun and different," Sander said.

Anyone can play and everyone is given a nickname.

"We like education, we like entertainment, we like fun. We try to bring all of that with what we do," Gaskell said.

If you want to join in on the fun, Sander said they are always accepting new players and you do not need any experience.

The Roosters have three more home games left this season.