Vintage ball players bring back the pastime

By Manuel C. "Manny" Correira
Posted 6/20/19

For the baseball purist, there’s nothing quite like hearing the sound of a bat on ball. There’s just something about it that stirs the imagination.

This past Saturday afternoon at the …

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Vintage ball players bring back the pastime

Posted

For the baseball purist, there’s nothing quite like hearing the sound of a bat on ball. There’s just something about it that stirs the imagination.

This past Saturday afternoon at the sun-drenched Bristol Town Common, “throwback baseball” took place in the outfield grass, where the Providence Grays tangled with the Brooklyn Atlantics in a good old-fashioned vintage baseball contest.

Using the 1864 underhand rules and the 1864 overhand rules, this particular game was sponsored by the Bristol Fourth of July Committee as part of its 2019 celebration.

As someone pointed out, “This event has not seen this style of baseball in many years.”

Opening ceremonies were conducted under the direction of long-time Fourth of July Committee member Patty Squatrito. Following the Pledge of Allegiance, the first pitches were tossed out by members of the Miss and Little Miss Fourth of July courts.

Those in attendance also had a chance to meet “PAWS,” the mascot from the Pawtucket Red Sox, always a big hit, particularly with the children.

Assisting was Providence Grays vice president and Bristol resident Charlie Dryer, who happily enjoyed being a part of Bristol’s Fourth of July Celebration with this vintage game.

“I love coming back for all of this,” he said. ”Brooklyn is a tremendous team.”

Both the Grays and Atlantics used their bare hands during game action, and according to Mr. Dryer, “Gloves didn’t come out until 1887.”

Sara Jane Soboleski, an active member of the Fourth of July Committee, has been in charge of this event the past three years and enjoys every second of it.

“I get so excited for this game,” she explained. “I look forward to it. I mainly have four or five other committee members helping me. We served hot dogs, chips, water and soda. The food was donated by Seabra Foods. And, donations are always accepted. We’re already making plans for next year.”

Fans lined up along the perimeter of the outfield, some seated n a small grandstand, and others in lawn chairs under shady trees, to watch all of the action. To both teams, maybe winning was somewhat of a factor, but for the fans, it really didn’t matter. Getting a chance to see “The Grand Old Game” in this light was special.

Charlie Dryer said it best as he gazed out over the field, “This is the great American game. Anybody can play baseball.”

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Jim McGaw

A lifelong Portsmouth resident, Jim graduated from Portsmouth High School in 1982 and earned a journalism degree from the University of Rhode Island in 1986. He's worked two different stints at East Bay Newspapers, for a total of 18 years with the company so far. When not running all over town bringing you the news from Portsmouth, Jim listens to lots and lots and lots of music, watches obscure silent films from the '20s and usually has three books going at once. He also loves to cook crazy New Orleans dishes for his wife of 25 years, Michelle, and their two sons, Jake and Max.