Haven Hill Barn Stormers and Rochester Grangers - 1860's Base Ball

The Rochester Grangers came to Highland State Recreation Area on August 28 and enjoyed a full 9 innings of vintage 1860's base ball on the Goose Meadow ball field against the Haven Hill Barn Stormers. The game was part of the Haven Hill Festival, a fund raising and public awareness event for the Friends of Highland Recreation Area. FOHRA is a growing group of Michigan residents, business owners and organizations, joining forces for a very simple concept: to bring to life a former estate of Edsel and Eleanor Ford - for everyone to enjoy. The group of volunteers benefit the Highland State Recreation Areas' natural and historical resources in Highland/White Lake, Michigan.

You couldn't have asked for a better weather day. 80's with a nice breeze blowing out to left and center field. No gloves were worn by the players, no sliding was allowed, and nothing but gentlemanly behaviour was permitted on the ball field that day. In the 1860's base ball (two words) was very much a game for enjoyment of recreation, exercise, the out-of-doors, community, and friendship.

Above: Coach Jay Fitzgerald and Player Dave Crawford of the Barn Stormers strike a pose.

The ball was similar in size, and the field was laid out the same, but the bases, or "sacks" as they were called, were often real sacks of sawdust or sand set out at 90 feet apart.

Above: Jerry McManus, Barn Stormer and FOHRA volunteer, looks on intently at the ball game.

The game may have ended with a score of 27 for the experienced Grangers, and just 5 runs for the Barn Stormers, but everyone had a wonderful time. The fans enjoyed the game and the children stayed after for their turn at "striker".

Above: The Haven Hill Barn Stormers at bat on a gorgeous summer day enjoying the original version of base ball.

In the late 1800's as the Civil War came and passed, the game of base ball spread across America and eventually became what it is today. Next time you get a chance to see the beginnings of base ball don't pass it up. It's a wonderful game!

Above: A young lady takes a turn at "striker" after the feature game. The ball is being pitched by a Rochester Granger "hurler" on the Goose Meadow field.

Many thanks to Pam Sienkiewicz (FOHRA), Harlan Worden (Grangers), and John Hawes for coordinating the meeting of the two teams.

Visit the Rochester Grangers' web site for more information. And stop by www.fohra.org to volunteer to bring life to the Haven Hill Estate. We need your support.