Tuesday, Jan 16, 2018
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Our Town Going Out

Great Black Swamp Frogs open vintage base ball season at Wildwood


Jeff 'Wrong Way' Rice of Toledo at bat for the Great Black Swamp Frogs.

Harold Zimmerman Enlarge

The Great Black Swamp Frogs of Sylvania opened its 23rd season on Sunday with a game of old-fashioned base ball played against the Early Riser Base Ball Club of Detroit.

The home opener game, played at Wildwood Preserve Park in Sylvania Township, began a season of vintage baseball. The Frogs won 9-6.

The players, dressed in Civil War-era garb, preserve the rules and attitudes that formed the historic sport which laid the foundation of modern baseball.

PHOTO GALLERY: Great Black Swamp Frogs vs. Early Riser Base Ball Club

“We play by the rules of 1860 right before the start of the Civil War, and the difference between game now and then, is it was played primarily for exercise and sport, and for pride,” said Rick Fuchs who plays second base for Great Black Swamp Frogs and lives in Sylvania.

“Most of the players in the 1860s weren’t paid. So you didn’t have the massive egos typical in modern baseball today.”

One of the most visible differences in the game is the absence of mitts. The teams play bare handed, and use a larger heavier ball styled after the original balls used in the early 19th century.

The 15 players of Sylvania’s vintage team, mostly residents from the Toledo area, are focused on winning, he said. At the same time they play the game for fun and companionship. In the tradition of sportsmanship the opposing team and their families enjoy a dinner hosted by the home team after the game.

To view the Great Black Swamp Frogs Base Ball Club schedule visit sev.org/GBSFrogs/.

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