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Vintage base ball anyone?

By LeAnn R. Ralph

COLFAX —  By all accounts, both players and spectators greatly enjoyed the vintage base ball game in Colfax July 18 for the Colfax Sesquicentennial between the Menomonie Blue Caps and the Colfax 150s.

And now the question is — how many people in Colfax would be interested in starting a vintage base ball team?

The game is played by 1860s rules, and one of the sponsors of the Menomonie Blue Caps is the Dunn County Historical Society.

The Menomonie Blue Caps team was established in 2012 — 71 years after the original Blue Caps team dissolved.

The original Blue Caps were a highly successful amateur base ball club from 1882 to 1941. Their first game was against the Eau Claire Crescents on July 4, 1882. The Blue Caps won 16 to 0 and brought home a purse of $25.

The original Menomonie Blue Caps team dissolved after many of the team members left home to serve in World War II.

Matt Carter, director of the Dunn County Historical Society, says the Blue Caps would be happy to help out with forming a team in Colfax.

“Please pass along a hearty Huzzah! to all of those that participated in the vintage base ball match over the weekend,” Carter said.

“We hope you all had as much fun as we did. It was great to see so many people show up to watch the event and cheer on the Colfax 150s! I already have Minnesota vintage base ball teams asking if Colfax is forming a team now, as they want our area to boom with vintage base ball,” he said.

“I would be more than happy to assist Colfax in starting up a team if they’re interested. If there is interest and a team can form soon enough, we have two teams coming from Anoka County, Minnesota, and Northfield, Minnesota. We’d be happy to invite the Colfax team to that!” Carter said.

Those who played in the July 18 game in Colfax described it as a “fun and interesting way to play base ball.”

The rules of the game are different than they are today, and at all times, members of vintage base ball teams must act like gentlemen and play by gentlemen’s rules. The ball is made out of cloth, and no gloves are used. If a ball is caught after one bounce, the “striker” (batter) is out.

So far this year, in addition to the Colfax 150s game, the Blue Caps have played Eau Claire in May; a tournament in Barron County in June; an invitational at Columbia Heights in June; a game at Freedom Fest in Menomonie on July 4 against the Minneapolis Quicksteps; and the Stillwater Invitational the day after the Colfax game.

For the rest of the season, in August, the Blue Caps will play at the Reedsburg Vintage Base Ball Festival; an exhibition fundraiser with the Menomonie Police Department; the Afton Invitational and the Blue Caps Invitational.

In September, the Blue Caps are scheduled to play at the Bayport Derby Days Festival.

Anyone who is interested in forming a team in Colfax can contact Matt Carter at the Dunn County Historical Society at (715) 232-8685; extension 101 — or by e-mail: director@dunnhistory.org.

You can also contact LeAnn Ralph at the Colfax Messenger at (715) 962-3535.