Vintage Baseball’s Back on June 23, with a ‘League of Their Own’ Twist

June 4, 2024 | by the Office of Marketing and Communications

vintage baseball

On Sunday, June 23, 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 battle for victory on the University Mall in what has become an annual Town vs. Gown showdown and an afternoon of family fun.

New this year, members of the Rockford Peaches Vintage Baseball Club will be on the Mall before the game to talk about the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League, as portrayed in the hit film A League of Their Own.

The Elmhurst History Museum will also have a pop-up display on site in honor of Elmhurst University alumna Audrey Wagner ’50, who joined the league in 1943 as a Kenosha Comets outfielder and continued to play while attending Elmhurst.

These additions celebrate the Elmhurst History Museum’s current exhibition, “Victory at Home: 1941-1945,” which explores the history of the World War II home front in Elmhurst, the western suburbs and Chicago.

In the 19th century, baseball, or “base ball” as it was called at that time, had wildly different rules and customs from what we know today. Teams applauded each other for good play, players demonstrated courtly behavior on and off the field, and the game was bare-handed.

The Elmhurst History Museum’s executive director, Dave Oberg, will oversee the Town vs. Gown competition as “barrister” (also known as an umpire), and share the rules and slang terms with the spectators. (A list of terms is below.)

On Sunday, June 23, you can learn about the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League beginning at 1:00 p.m. The Vintage Baseball Game begins at 2:00 p.m. Fans are encouraged to bring lawn chairs, picnics and refreshments to enjoy during the game, which is sponsored by the Elmhurst Heritage Foundation. Both events will take place on the Elmhurst University Mall, and are free and open to the public. Events like these reaffirm Elmhurst University’s commitment to lifelong learning and engagement for our students and the entire University community.

For more information, email marketing@elmhurst.edu or visit the Elmhurst History Museum’s website, elmhursthistory.org.

19th-century ‘Base Ball’ Terminology

Vintage baseball games have 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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