The Athletic Base Ball Club of Philadelphia is here to introduce communities across the region to the sociable and well-played game that defined 1864 base ball and that 12-year period of fine, high-quality local Clubs before the professional era took hold. In particular, we are keen to re-establish each of the Clubs the Athletic played from 1859 to 1872 – for re-matches 135-years in the making. We welcome enthusiastic Lady and Gentlemen ball players and arbiters (umpires). There is a period uniform with your name on it. Claim it. See our Schedule. Come out to a match! Meet the New York, New Jersey, Delaware and Maryland Clubs on our home field in Fairmount Park, Memorial Field (right next to the Please Touch Museum).
The Athletic Base Ball Club was founded in 1859 with the express purpose of playing what was then often referred to as "the New York game." Early on, Athletic competed against stiff local competition from clubs such as Keystone, Equity, Minerva, Mercantile and many others. These amateur clubs were organized by trade, neighborhood, or from the ranks of clubs devoted to other hobbies. As Athletic grew to be a force on the national scene, many of these clubs became de facto farm teams for the Athletics, who had the best record in the country in 1867 and 1868. Part of Athletic’s mission was to facilitate the growth of the sport in towns around the region, and Athletic even sponsored the first African-American club to apply for membership in the National Association of Base Ball Players. As professionalism took over after the Civil War, the Athletics moved on to become the first champions of the new National Association of Professional Base Ball Players.
Athletic would remain a force to be reckoned with until their ejection from the National League after the 1876 season. Scott "Big Deal" Alberts initiated the revival of the traditions of the amateur Athletic Base Ball Club ["ABBC"] in August of 2009. The revived ABBC seeks to reestablish the convivial amateur spirit of the early game.
WHEN: April 19, 2015 @ 12:00 pm – 3:00 pm
321 Conshohocken State Road, Bala Cynwyd, PA
Join Sadie Robinson and Scott Alberts of the Athletics for a presentation on 18th and 19th century ball games that influenced the invention of baseball.
Games would include:
- Stool Ball 12:00-12:30
- Long Ball 12:30-1:00
- Town Ball 1:00-2:00
All would be played with very soft balls, so no gloves will be required. We will provide all bats and other equipment. Come in your 19th century garb for extra kudos.
Scott Alberts is a native of Philadelphia and an amateur social historian. His best known project has been the reestablishment of the Athletic Base Ball Club of Philadelphia in 2009. The Athletics recreate the game of “base ball” as it was played during the 1860s, competing in real games, with painstakingly reproduced uniforms & equipment against like-minded teams from around the country as members of the Mid-Atlantic Vintage Base Ball League. Scott’s research has been particularly focused on the more obscure games in the baseball family and how these games fit into the lives of those who played them.
First attested to in a document from 1450, an English folk game that is illustrative of the primitive origins of sports in general, and cricket in particular. Commonly played around Easter, the game is simple and easy for players of all ages. The game is played with a bat, ball, and a target (the stool) to be defended by the batter.
The contemporary term for a family of games still played throughout continental Europe that had an important influence on the development of baseball in America. The earliest recorded European bat & ball game in America was a long ball game. Hit the ball as far as you can, then try to run to the safe zone without getting struck by the (very soft) ball.
We will be playing the Philadelphia variety of this American game that was produced from the blending of English and other European games in the New World. Similar to rounders and baseball, but much simpler and fun for all ages. We’ve taught this game to kids many times, and the trick is getting them to stop playing it!
2015 Season Matches & Tournaments – Fairs & Festivals
Meet our Club & league clubs. All home games are played on Memorial field in Fairmount Park unless otherwise noted. Additionally, games aim to start at NOON, however, because of travel time for some of the teams, games can start as late as 1 PM. It is often not known until day of the match.
Athletic Base Ball Club of Philadelphia 2015 Schedule
04/12 - Away vs. Talbot Fair Plays
04/25 - Diamond State BBC @ Athletic - Memorial Field
05/09 - Brandywine BBC @ Athletic - Memorial Field
05/16 - Ommegang Brewery Event - Cooperstown, NY
05/31 – Rising Sun BBC @ Athletic – Ryerss Museum
06/07 - Athletic @ Minerva BBC - Batsto Village, NJ
06/20 - Bog Iron Boys @ Athletic - Pennypacker Mills
06/27 & 06/28 – Berks County Vintage Base Ball Festival (outside Reading, PA)
07/12 - Athletic @ Mohican BBC
7/18 & 7/19 - Gettysburg Festival
08/01 - Athletic @ Brandywine BBC - Cal Ripken WS in Aberdeen, MD
08/09 - Mohican BBC @ Athletic - Memorial Field
08/15 - Athletic @ Bog Iron Boys - Allaire Village in Farmingdale, NJ
08/29 - Navy Yard VBB Exhibition - hosted by The Philadelphia Athletic
09/12 - Athletic @ Brandywine BBC
09/19 - Rising Sun @ Athletic - Penrose-Strawbridge Property in Horsham, PA
09/26 - Athletic @ Flemington Neshanock - Dey Farm in Cranbury, NJ
10/10 - Athletic @ Diamond State
Our Field is located near the Please Touch Museum in Fairmount Park. Specifically near the intersection of Black Road and Landsdowne Drive near the Smith Memorial Arch (the Civil War monument):