Author Archives: Shawn V

John Thorn

Do you know what a Rounders Bat is? John Thorn does

A Rounders Bat, an Antique Shop, and a Vague Response

“I would say it’s from the 1940’s.” That was information volunteered from an antiques dealer in North Carolina. In years past, while on vacation, I had purchased vintage baseball bats from the same shop. This conversation, however, had to do with a “rounders bat” that was on display. The game was integral to the origins of baseball. We have all seen the historical drawings and etchings of rounders games (sometimes called base ball) but I had seen minimal information on the game of rounders or its equipment as it pertained to baseball’s evolution. This particular bat is about 18 inches long and swung with one hand. I asked the antique dealer “how can you be sure this is a rounders bat”? (The tag stated “Rounders Bat”) She shared that it came from a trustworthy source. This is when she volunteered that she felt it was from the 1940’s. I’ve realized that my question to her regarding the claim of a rounders bat may have been unfair. It is a tough question. The bat was $20. Worth the cost given the opportunity to research the item.

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Facebook, Twitter, and John Thorn

I posted a couple of photographs and questions on a Facebook group that I am a member of. “Baseball 1857 through 1993“. One of the members suggested I pose my request to John Thorn. He is the official historian for Major-League Baseball.

Rounders

Facebook Post from “Baseball 1857 through 1993“. Thank you Jimmie Whitt!

John Thorn has been very well-known in baseball circles since 1994, when he was heavily involved in the Ken Burns documentary “Baseball“. His writings and contributions to baseball are substantial and fascinating. I thought this was a great suggestion and am thankful for the direction from the member of the group.

I tweeted photographs and the request for John’s opinion on the age of the bat. John replied to my tweet. He confirmed that it is, indeed, a rounders bat. In his opinion, the bat dated to the mid 19th century. In a year of harrowing Mets tweets, this tweet was magnificent!

John Thorn

Tweet from John Thorn. Love Twitter!

John Thorn

In Boston, Rounders was called Base Ball.
Note the size of the bat.

John Thorn

Cricket, Base Ball, and Rounders
One Shilling!

He also included information regarding the game of rounders in his reply to my tweet. It was exciting to receive his opinion on the bat but it was equally exciting hearing back from him.

I have no idea as to the worth of the bat but I’ll continue to find more information as I am able. If any of you have information that might be interesting regarding the game of rounders please contact me.

I have ventured down the path of antiquated bats before and have yet to garner resolution regarding town ball bats.

Mrs. V was persuadable in regard to this purchase. A rounders bat takes up very little space.

Here is a link to John Thorn’s writings offered by Amazon.

You can follow John Thorn on Twitter here!

Follow this link to follow me on Twitter.

 

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'69 Mets

Finding Nostalgia found a few ’69 Mets and Rusty Staub

Hurricane Agnes, a Lawn Chair, and a Black and White TV

Hurricane Agnes and major flooding came to my hometown in Central Pennsylvania during the summer of 1972 . Our house had water within inches of the second floor. At that time we had wood paneling which had to come down. The flooring had to be taken up as well. This was done so the wood framing and sub flooring of the house could dry. All we had in our living room for a length of time was a typical outdoor lawn chair and a black and white TV.

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'69 Mets

Example of our living room furniture during the Summer of 1972. Watched many Mets games in something like this.

1972 Mets Yearbook

I spent many hours watching the Mets during those summer evenings from that lawn chair. This past weekend, I was given the opportunity to meet some of the ball players I watched on that black and white TV. Many of the players were carryovers from the ’69 Mets. The summer of 1972 was the summer the Mets really took a hold of me.

The Tappan Zee Bridge

Mrs. V and I began the journey to White Plains, New York early Saturday morning. Home of the East Coast National. A sports collectors convention that is really a worthwhile venture . The show takes place about 20 miles north of New York City. We had to cross the Tappan Zee Bridge to make our destination. If you do not have EZ Pass, this bridge takes the info from your license plate by camera and mails you a bill for the toll. Anything to cut down traffic is a win-win and that inventor should be right up there with the inventor of Gore-Tex.

The show had a tremendous lineup of sports figures. I was there to meet and get autographs from four legendary New York Mets. Ed Kranepool, Cleon Jones, Jerry Grote, and Rusty Staub. These were some of the fellows I watched on the black-and-white TV while sitting in the lawn chair. Three of them were part of the 1969 World Series Champion New York Mets.

Ed, Cleon, Jerry, and Rusty

Below are the autographs I received as well as the photos that Mrs. V took of the retired ball players at the convention. All of the guys were kind and courteous. The highlight may have come from Jerry Grote. A fan ahead of me in line mentioned the “Miracle Mets” to him. Jerry, in a very animated way, stated “it’s not a miracle when you win 100 games”. You could certainly tell that he took great pride in the Mets 1969 world championship and made it clear that is was NO miracle.

'69 Mets

Ed Kranepool. A very young man. (Note the 1964 Worlds Fair patch)

'69 Mets

Ed Kranepool. Lifelong Met. Managed by Casey Stengel and Gil Hodges, among others. The stories he could tell.

'69 Mets

Cleon Jones. A picture is worth a thousand words.

'69 Mets

Cleon Jones was a great player for the Mets.

Jerry Grote--1969 Mets

Jerry Grote–1969 Mets

'69 Mets

Jerry Grote. Catcher to Tom Seaver, Nolan Ryan, Jerry Koosman….

 

'69 Mets

Rusty Staub. A great ballplayer.

'69 Mets

Rusty Staub. Pure joy on my face.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In January of this year I had the privilege of attending the 2017 Queens Baseball Convention. In attendance was another member of the ’69 Mets, Art Shamsky. When I approached him for an autographed photo, he took the time to talk about the “69 Mets and how much of a team effort the World Series Championship represented. You can read about my meeting with Art Shamsky here.

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MLB Little League Classic to be played in Williamsport PA on Aug 20

MLB Little League Classic

Final preparations are underway for an event widely anticipated and heralded since MLB made the announcement this past March. An absolute jewel of minor league baseball, BB&T Ballpark at Historic Bowman Field, will be showcased during the MLB Little League Classic on August 20. ESPN will televise the game. The match up features the Pittsburgh Pirates taking on the St. Louis Cardinals. The ballgame will take place during the annual Little League World Series in Williamsport PA. Major League Baseball will host all of the visiting Little League players and their families at this very intimate ball park.  BB&T Ballpark at Bowman Field has undergone many changes to bring it up to Major League specifications.

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Below are links to view additional information on the upcoming MLB Little League Classic as well as the changes that have taken place to the ballpark.

Getting Ready for Major League Baseball in Williamsport

Bob Gibson and Andy Van Slyke pay a visit to Bowman Field

Major League Baseball Little League Classic will bring back Clint Hurdle and others

 

MLB Little League Classic

Video Board under construction.

MLB Little League Classic

Bob Gibson and Andy Van Slyke paid a recent visit to promote the game.

MLB Little League Classic

Temporary Clubhouses in the works.

 

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