Friday, November 07, 2008

Play ball! (in Colt Park)

If you've never seen a game of "vintage base ball," you're missing out. It's baseball the way they played it in the 19th century -- sometimes without gloves, always with great sportsmanship. Now Karen and Gary O'Maxfield of Hartford have begun the Friends of Vintage Base Ball. "Our purpose is to facilitate and preserve the customs, culture, history and spirit of vintage base ball through public education, awareness and participation," says their website, at

Locally, the Friends are working to have a field in Colt Park designated for vintage base ball. They note that the Coltsville district was recently named a National Historic Landmark and is on its way to becoming a National Park. "As base ball was an activity promoted by the Colt Factory and, indeed, by Elizabeth Colt herself, returning the sport to the former grounds of the Colt estate is a concept whose time has come," they contend. "Vintage base ball is more than sport or entertainment— it is living history."

Karen O'Maxfield operates another website dedicated to the history of Hartford, at Gary is also "Pops O'Maxfield," the noted vintage base ball umpire and historian.

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