Vintage Baseball Game Returns to Elmhurst University on June 4

May 23, 2023 | by the Office of Marketing and Communications

On Sunday, June 4, the Elmhurst University campus once again will host the Vintage Baseball Game, a throwback competition played by the old-school rules of the 1850s.

With fans (known as “kranks”) expected to be out in force to cheer and jeer the proceedings,teams from the City of Elmhurst and Elmhurst University will face off in a Town vs. Gown showdown beginning at 2:00 p.m. on the University Mall.

Fans are encouraged to bring lawn chairs, picnics and refreshments to enjoy during the game. The event is free and open to the public. Free parking is available in the Elmhurst University parking lots.

As has been the tradition for the past few years, Mayor Scott Levin will lead the City of Elmhurst squad, and the Elmhurst University team skipper will be President Troy VanAken. The Elmhurst History Museum’s executive director, Dave Oberg, will oversee the competition as “barrister” (also known as an umpire) and share the rules and slang terms with the spectators. (A list of terms is below.)  

“The Vintage Baseball Game is a really fun way to learn about the history of one of our country’s favorite summer pastimes,” Oberg said. “Everyone has a fantastic time, whether they are on the field or spectators, so we are anticipating another great afternoon of old-school baseball at Elmhurst University.”  

“We are grateful to Elmhurst University for hosting us, and to the Elmhurst Heritage Foundation for sponsoring this annual event,” he added. It is truly a unique experience for baseball fans of all ages.”

For more information, visit the Elmhurst History Museum’s website,, or call (630) 833-1457.


19th-century Baseball Terminology

Vintage Baseball Games are filled with their own vocabulary, including cheers and jeers from the stands and players. Here is a guide to some of the terms that can be heard in typical vintage baseball competitions:

Apple/Onion/Horsehide/Pill: The ball
Blooper/Banjo: A weak fly ball
Boodler: An ungentlemanly maneuver
Bowler/Feeder/Hurler/Thrower/Twirler: Pitcher
Club Nine: Ball team
Kranks/Bugs/Rooters/Throng: Fans
Daisy cutter/Ant killer/Worm burner/Bug crusher: Sharp ground ball
Dew drop/Foul tick: Foul ball
Dish: Home plate
Drop a duck egg on ‘em: Hold them scoreless for the inning
Glad hand: Clapping
Hit the apple out of the orchard/Lay the willow on that onion: Hit a home run

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