Hingham Vintage Base Ball’s Coopers and Derbies met for the fifth annual Independence Holiday cross town match-up on July 7th 2012 before an estimated crowd of two hundred and fifty fans of the Old Game. Playing by 1880s rules, which allowed the choice to use small gloves in the field, the Coopers shot out to an early lead. The Derbies emerged the winners however, taking home the Hingham Cup for the third straight year, much to the chagrin of the underdog Coopers who were convinced that this was finally their year. The outstanding Derby victory and resultant puffery made for strong voices to pull up the downtrodden Coopers as the two teams thanked the fans with a chorus of “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” after the final out.
Selectman Bruce Rabuffo and former Town Moderator Tom O’Donnell did the color commentary from behind the plate while former Selectman Matt MacIver took on the role of Umpire. The opening ceremonies included a first pitch by Congressman Steven Lynch of the 9th District and a resounding National Anthem played on the Saxophone by Jason Litchfield. Kids attending the game were given between inning lessons on the evolution of base balls and base ball gloves and the commentators in the booth kept the crowd involved in the game, describing the nuances of play from a long ago era. Players and their families did a lot to make this event happen. There are too many to list here but the Society and the Vintage program thank them for all their efforts.
The following weekend, a combined Hingham Vintage squad faced the Bristol Blues of Bristol, R.I. in a game played by 1860s rules with no gloves. Gloveless defense is a particularly hard skill to learn and Hingham has done poorly in the past against Bristol and Essex, MA with no gloves, losing by big margins. This time around, Hingham played well, enlivened by a fantastic pitching job by “Maddog” Madden, but still losing 7-5.
Hingham traveled to face Bristol again on August 19th , this time at George’s Island in Boston Harbor as part of a historical look back at that island’s Civil War history. The experience was surreal playing in the parade grounds of old Fort Warren. Hingham was again frustrated by failure however. The return trip home via ferry gave us an opportunity to discuss the outcome and brought the team to an inescapable conclusion: We can’t switch from glove to no glove and back again without losing skills. 2013 here we come.