LITTLE SILVER, NJ - Monmouth Furnace, the Jersey Shore's team in the Mid-Atlantic Vintage Base Ball League, will be playing the Hoboken Nine on Saturday, July 7th, in Little Silver.
The official rules of 1864 will be in effect. That means they'll be swinging wood bats at underhand pitches -- and there will a lot of bare-handed catches because gloves weren't used in the sport 154 years ago.
The two Clubs will meet at 11 a.m. at Sickles Field, next to the 1665 Parker Homestead at 235 Rumson Road. Admission will be free.
The name of the national pastime was two words in 1864 – base ball. The team names are historic, too. Monmouth Furnace was the original name of the Allaire Iron Works in the 1800s, now a restored Wall Township village where that team started. The Hoboken club's name pays tribute to the site of the world's first competitive base ball game in 1845. (It wasn't in Cooperstown, New York.)
“Our quirky but fast-paced games re-enact the roots of modern baseball,” explained Russ McIver, captain of the Monmouth Furnace team.
"There's a lot of baseball history in New Jersey and in the Shore region," he said. "For instance, in the 1850s, teams representing Long Branch resort hotels played on inland fields around Monmouth County. In 1898, the Brooklyn and New York teams of the National League had spring training in Allaire and Lakewood, respectively."
McIver's club combines its love of the sport and history in exhibition games and hard-fought matches against league rivals on weekends. Next on its schedule after Little Silver will be Piscataway, Atlantic Highlands and even nearby states. McIver said he's always looking for more baseball and softball players who want to have “good old-fashioned fun by making history come alive on the diamond.”
The Monmouth Furnace team ranges from teenagers to senior citizens, including “muffins” (rookies) as well as “corkers” (good players). Both clubs are hoping to attract a lot of “cranks” (fans) on July 7th.