Find a Club


There are over 200 vintage base ball teams across the country. Find one in your area.

Find a Team

Get Involved

Get Involved

Starting a team, or just looking to become a part of the game? Here’s how to get involved.

Join the VBBA

Sign the Petition

Doc Adams

Support Doc Adams for the National Baseball Hall of Fame, and read about The Abner Doubleday Myth.

Learn More

About the Game

About the Game

We play by the rules and customs of base ball as it was played in the 1860s.

Learn More

VBBA on Facebook

Just in time for Thanksgiving, lets get a little discussion going on one of the duties of the umpire.

In the 1860 Beadles guide, we find the following passage under the Duties of the Umpire:

"Whenever a point is to be decided upon, rest the decision upon the first impression, for however incorrect it, at times, may be, it is invariably the most impartial one. When the point, on which judgment is required, is a doubtful one, the rule is to give the decision in favor of the ball."

The sentence to focus on, is the last one. give the decision in favor of the ball.

Some could interpret that as a close play at first base .. meaning no longer is it tie goes to the runner.

But, I believe the correct interpretation is NOT having to do with a close plat at a base, but instead, on a play out in the field.. when maybe there is a diving catch and the umpire is not 100% sure if the ball was caught cleanly.

The reason for this thought, is that in Section 14 we read:

SEC. 14. Or, if a fair ball is struck, and the ball is held by an adversary on the first base, before the striker touches that base.

Note that the ball must be held BEFORE the striker touches the base.. meaning a tie is NOT before, therefore the runner would be safe.. contradictory to giving judgement to the ball in that case.

I think most vintage players lean to the side of being honorable and would indicate catch or no catch on their own. However, for those that lean the other way.. we need the umpire to make a judgement, and per this commentary by Chadwick, the umpire should give judgement to the ball.

So, given that brief introduction.. what say you ?

lets open this up to your thoughts and maybe instances where this came up in one of your games, and how it was handled.

On a side note, in the 1864 Beadles, that language of giving judgement to the ball was removed from the Duties of the Umpire section.

View on Facebook

A question was asked.. and I believe it was answered once before.. quite awhile back, so will address it here again today and see if anything new pops up.

The situation. 1860 base ball match. No hands lost. Runners on 1st, 2nd and 3rd bases. Striker hits a ground ball to anywhere.. lets say first base to make it simple.

The first baseman touches first base with his foot with the ball in his hand, before the striker reaches first base.

He then throws the ball home to the catcher, who catches it while standing on home plate before the runner from third base gets to the home plate,

and then the catcher throws the ball to the third baseman, who catches the ball before the runner from second base reaches third base.

How many are out ?

I am going to post the section on the First Baseman from Beadles, 1860 as a picture. And then another as 1865 Beadles describes it.

For some reason, I think there was a discussion about how there was a letter to the editor stating this was not the case in 1860 ? or maybe somewhere between 1860 and 1865 that this was printed up wrong in the guide ??

anyway, if you have info on this to share.. please do.. as most clubs i know that play 1860, follow the Beadles as written in the First Base section of the guide..

1862 Beadles is written just as 1860. I dont have an 1864 guide to compare.. so first time I see it written the "modern day" way, is 1865.

View on Facebook