PHOTO: The Franklin Farriers and Quicksteps of Spring Hill compete in a vintage baseball game on Sunday, May 21. / Photo by Alexander Willis
By ALEXANDER WILLIS
In a heated game of vintage baseball on Sunday, the Franklin Farriers defeated the Quicksteps of Spring Hill in a 24-18 victory.
Both teams are part of the Tennessee Association of Vintage Base Ball, a league that models itself after baseball players of the 19th century. Despite the competitive nature of the sport, team players say the league stresses sportsmanship above fierce competition.
“We’re all really good friends,” Trapper Haskins, captain of the Franklin Farriers and executive director of the Tennessee Association of Vintage Base Ball, said. “What we like to say is, we’re all on the same team, we just wear different uniforms on Sundays.”
While different vintage baseball leagues exist across the country, this particular association models itself after the style of baseball that existed in 1864 specifically. This includes both the rules and regulations of the time, and the attire.
“This league is extremely accurate to the uniforms,” media director Matt Felts said. “You won’t see guys wearing Nike tennis shoes. [There’s] nothing from the modern era, no water bottles – guys will drink from an old Civil War canteen – so it’s extremely accurate.”
The Tennessee Association of Vintage Base Ball was founded in December 2012 by Haskins and executive director Michael Thurmon, after having played in other vintage baseball leagues in Ohio. The Association expects to have over 10,000 attendees for its 2018 season, and shows no signs of slowing down.
Each team must use a historical site as its venue, and the Quicksteps’ venue is located at the 160 year-old Rippavilla Plantation. The large fields by the plantation provide ample space for players and spectators alike.
The league is open to any players over the age of 18, and judging from the Quicksteps’ roster, attracts players of all ages and backgrounds.
“It really draws in an eclectic mix of guys,” Felts says. “You’ve got die-hard liberals, die-hard Republicans, but out here nobody cares. You just play ball and have a good time.”
The next Quicksteps game will be against the Mountain City Ballists of Chattanooga on Saturday, June 2. Attendance for all 2018 games is free.