The weather was perfect and the venue was spot on. but unfortunately, the Oregon Ganymede’s were off their game—three to be exact— at the 17th annual World Tournament of Historic Base Ball.
“We had some 2-out errors that really hurt us in every game,” said Captain Mark Herman on Sunday.
The Ganymedes were one of 12 vintage base ball teams who played on the Walnut Grove fields at the Henry Ford Museum’s Greenfield Village, in Dearborn, Michigan on Aug. 10 and 11.
The Oregon-based team was competitive, but winless against three competitors: the Saginaw Old Golds, the Black Flags of Drovertown, and the Lah-De-Dahs.
They fell to the Saginaw Old Golds of Saginaw, Michigan in their first match of the day 21-8. and two hours later, to the Black Flags of Drovertown, Huntington, Indiana, 17-12 after jumping out to a big lead only to fall in the later innings.
Early Sunday morning, the team lost to the Lah-De-Dahs 14-12.
“We had many great plays, but too many errors,” Herman said. “Saturday was also an upset day for nearly all the previous tournament favorites as they were defeated one by one by several new clubs to the tournament.”
Dressed in period-era uniforms, the teams squared up to play America’s pastime “base ball,” the way it was played (and spelled) in the 1900s
Players shouted words of encouragement like “well held” after good catches and politely asked the lone umpire for a ‘judgment sir’ after a close play.
The historial village allowed visitors to take a trip back in time with players shaking hands after good plays and stopping the game to wave their hats as the Edison steam-engine train passed by the fields.
Despite the record, Oregon fans who made the trip enjoyed the weekend.
“This is my first time coming and it is pretty neat,” said Dick Krug whose son Rick, 43, is the team’s catcher. “This is a very nice facility. It’s kind of nice to go backwards in time as long as there aren’t any outhouses.”
Krug, a Chicago Cubs baseball fan, said his grandfather played for the Dixon Merchants in 1909.
“They had a 26-inning game against Muscatine, Iowa and he pitched the whole game,” Krug said. “The White Sox tried to sign him, but he already had half-a-dozen kids. His name was Silent Bob Woodyatt.”
Krug said he enjoyed watching his son play.
“I played fastpitch and slopitch softball in Oregon in the 1970s,” he said. “When they got this started I was just a little too old.”
Last year, the Ganymedes won the 3rd Class Division, and earned an automatic bid to this year’s tournament.
Herman said the team would now be in a lottery with four other teams to see who would be invited back in 2020.
“The competition was really good this year,” Herman said. “This is the first time in 5 years that we didn’t win at least 2 games.”
The Ganymedes did win the “Furthest Traveled Award” in honor of being the team who was located the furthest from Greenfield Village, (373 miles from Dearborn, Michigan).
They also received a “Bag of Peanuts Award” for not winning a game. The Indianapolis Blues also didn’t win a game so they got a bag of peanuts too.
The Ganymedes’ oldest player, Jimmy Martinaiti, 75, of Oregon, accepted the awards for Oregon.
“He’s our ‘eye candy’,” said a smiling Herman, referring to Jimmy’s period-correct handlebar moustache. “The bag of peanuts award and the furthest traveled award is something that they did at the original Detroit World Tournament in 1867. This is the third year in a row that we have received the furthest traveled award.”
The Canton Cornhuckers from Clinton. Michigan won the 1st Class Division beating the Flat Rock Bear Clan of Detroit 14-9 in the championship.
The Saginaw Old Golds won the 2nd Class Division and the La-Dee-Dahs won the 3rd Class Division.