Historic Baseball in Greenfield Village at The Henry Ford

One of the truly original offerings in Greenfield Village at The Henry Ford is the playing of Historic Base Ball games on summer weekends. The game is played by 1867 rules as set down in Henry Chadwick’s Haney’s Base Ball Book of Reference.

It was mentioned in this informative booklet that I was given while watching a game recently:

Historic Baseball 001

There are two teams based out of Greenfield Village that play towards the World Tournament of Historic Base Ball. The first is the Lah-De-Dahs and the second is the Nationals Base Ball Club. I root for the Lah-De-Dahs!

But this particular day my team (the Lah-De-Dahs) were playing against the Regulars Base Ball Club of Mt. Clemens. Let’s start with the pitch from the Regulars:

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And a mighty swing from the Lah-De-Dahs batter with some hustle from the field:

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And the play is in full motion:

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And now a brief break from the game: In the background of the picture above you can see a railway track. Every now and then an authentic steam locomotive will chug by. The game must stop when this occurs so as not to hit any passengers with a home run ball, or as the commentator of the game remarked, so as not to have the outfielder knock the train off the tracks as he goes long to catch the ball. Apparently, outfielders in Historic Base Ball stop for nothing! And here she comes now:

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“Hurrah! Hurrah! Hurrah!”

The commentator urges the players and spectators alike to yell the above ‘greeting’ to the passengers of the train to scare them so as to help them realize just how dangerous this new-fangled mode of transportation, steam trains, can be!

Now back to the game. One of our fine Lah-De-Dah gentlemen has just made third base:

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Lah-De-Dahs wear red with a tie

Let’s have a closer look at this uniform:

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Notice there are no helmets, gloves, or cleats (in fact, some players play barefooted). Although Base Ball was an amateur sport in 1867 and played by gentlemen only, it certainly took a tougher breed than today’s professional games call for!

The games almost over so now seems like a good time to introduce you to the games excellent commentator:

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This man got quite a workout as he walked back and forth among the spectators answering questions while commenting on the game.

The final score was in favor of the Lah-De-Dahs as they narrowly beat out the Regulars 15-13 in nine innings. What I enjoyed about the game was the open sportsmanship displayed by both teams! In the end, the losing Captain led his team in a cheer of appreciation for the respect of the winning team:

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Class never goes out of style!

The game of baseball is much different today as it has become a professional business instead of a gentlemanly pastime. Could this be due in part to the kind of players we have today? Notice how the model Base Ball Player is described in 1867:

The principal rule of action of our model base ball player is to comport himself like a gentleman on all occasions, but especially on match days, and in so doing he abstains from profanity and its twin and vile brother, obscenity… He never censures errors of play made by a brother member or an opponent, as he is well aware that fault-finding not only leads to no improvement in the play of the one who blunders, but on the contrary is calculated to have the very reverse effect.”

Does that describe your favorite baseball player of today?

Of course, there was some hypocrisy back then, as the commentator frequently made reference to a ‘muffed ball’, which is a ball that the fielder touches but fails to hold or stop. The commentator delighted in gently ribbing players on both teams for doing this. Of course he also enjoyed picking on them for their facial hair and ages, but I guess the rules of 1867 Base Ball say nothing about how a commentator should act!

The commentator also gave free advice to the players of both teams, telling the batters to hit the ball to where no one was standing (Really? Who knew?) and that if the fielders paid attention and caught the ball, they would get more batters out. Well, I can’t imagine any better advice, can you?

So if you’re in the Detroit area and like sports, Greenfield Village has Historic Base Ball games every weekend, Saturdays and Sundays, all summer long. They would love to see you there cheering for all the good plays, no matter which team makes them!

Magical Blogorail: Family Adventure – Museums

Welcome to this month’s Blogorail Peach Loop. Today we are discussing museums that your family needs to visit.

THE   HENRY   FORD

HF Museum

My wife and I first visited this museum in 2007. At the time, we were living just outside of Windsor, ON. Being as this was just across the Detroit River from Dearborn, MI. it made for a short drive, and we had season passes for a few years.

Partnered with The Henry Ford is Greenfield Village, a re-creation of turn-of-the-century living featuring actual historic houses and industrial buildings from around the United States. But more on that later.

Henry Ford was an avid collector. Of course, his collection of cars is front and center in this museum:

HF Car

But he also collected planes, trains, farm equipment, antiques, furniture, silver artifacts, chandeliers, and so much more. So this museum is a well-rounded peek into the past! And also a peek into the humorous side of this famous man:

HF WeinerMobile

Don’t you wish you were an Oscar Mayer wiener… mobile?

Did I mention Henry Ford collected everything? I purchased a book called Dog Days: A Year in the Oscar Mayer Wienermobile by Dave Ihlenfeld and it was a real hoot! The cover features a Wienermobile parked in someone’s driveway. Too much!

The museum even has some unique things you can’t find anywhere else, like these concept models:

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The one on the upper left became the 1960’s Batmobile!

HF Concept 3 HF Concept 4

Now onto Greenfield Village:

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GV Fountain

This working village is made up of a farming community, an industrial section, a Main Street area, and a residential district. Model T Fords whisk you along paved roads past Thomas Edison’s Menlo Park factory, the Wright Brothers’ bicycle shop and homestead, and even Mr. Webster’s house, where you can see a display of his works, including his most famous dictionary.

These buildings aren’t replicas! They are the actual houses, bought and saved and moved, brick by brick or board by board to Greenfield Village. Yes, you will be walking on the same floors as the famous people listed above!

Oh, and Henry Ford even moved the farmhouse of his friend Mr. Firestone to the farming district. You may have his tires on your car.

But the Village isn’t just about historic houses. Each year they have two car shows: The Motor Muster and Old Car Festival.

MM Car OCF Bus

Muscle Cars and Vintage Automobiles

And they have Jazz Festivals, Food Festivals, Holiday Events, and so much more. Even celebrity trains drop by:

GV Thomas

There are similarities between Disneyland and Greenfield Village. Both have vintage carousels, steam trains that circle the property, period-costumed characters roaming around, and vintage vehicle rides.

GV Train

All Aboard!

And just one more thing before I wrap this up: Walt Disney visited Greenfield Village twice before he opened his first theme park, Disneyland, in 1955. He posed for a tintype picture while visiting the Village on April 12, 1940.

GV WD Plaque

Walt Disney

Karen and I consider The Henry Ford/Greenfield Village our second home-away-from-Disney! The sheer number of things to see and do, the level of quality and cleanliness, and the friendly staff, make this museum every bit as exciting and memorable as a visit to Disneyland or Walt Disney World!

And I don’t say that lightly!

For more information on museums to visit with your family, check out the other great posts from the Blogorail!


Here is the map of our Blogorail Peach | Family Adventure : Museums

Walt’s Tintype Portrait at the Greenfield Village

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When my wife and I lived in the Windsor area, just across the border from Detroit, we held an Annual Pass to The Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, MI. But our favorite part of that great institution was Greenfield Village!

Greenfield Village

Here you can go back in time to when the electric light bulb was only installed in one house, the Model T was just getting started, and living was simpler and more wholesome. And you can even ride in a real Model T, just like we did here:

Model T Ride

But if that’s not enough to get you to make a trip to Michigan, how about visiting a site where Walt Disney himself visited? Now if that’s got your interest piqued, then you need to visit this building:

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Unassuming, ain’t it?

This is the Tintype Studio where Walt Disney and Ward Kimball got their portraits done during one of the two visits Walt made to Greenfield Village. Trivia: Both trips were made before Disneyland was constructed, and some say Henry Ford’s property influenced some of the features found in Walt’s Park.

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Note Walt’s pose in the bottom left corner

So if you live in the States but a trip to California just isn’t going to happen, than perhaps a trip to the other Park that Walt walked in might be more within your reach!