Local History and Genealogy

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Play Ball!

Spring is in the air and with that is the coming of baseball. Believe it, or not, this sport has been a part of the history of this community and this state for well over 160 years. If you want to get more details about this, look at Baseball Fever: Early Baseball in Michigan (H 797.1 M877) by Peter Morris. It talks about the first recorded baseball game in Michigan which took place in Jackson in 1845. There is a lot of information about baseball in Kalamazoo including an interesting story about some early games in Bronson Park in the late 1850s when Village President Latham Hull’s concern for the trees led to a new ordinance concerning this sport. 

Another book on the subject is Minor League Baseball Towns of Michigan:  Adrian to Ypsilanti (H 917.74 O414) which looks at minor league teams in the state in communities ranging from Adrian to Ypsilanti as the cover states. Kalamazoo has great photographs and information on the teams and the sites where you could find professional baseball in this community during the last half of the 19th and into the 20th centuries. You will be amazed.


Baseball Fever

Lynn H


Thanks, Lynn... I haven't seen the Morris book yet - definitely a must-read. If you want to have some fun this summer, there are several teams in the nearby region that play vintage base ball (yes, two words) using the pre-Civil War era (1858) rules. Perhaps the most notable among them is the House of David Echoes team (check maryscityofdavid.org, their season begins April 26). These games are a hoot! Arguing with the umpire is forbidden and ballists (players) are fined a nickel for spitting or other such ungentlemanly conduct. Do yourself a favor - grab a picnic lunch and a glass of lemonade and enjoy one of these games! Hip hip, hazaa!