COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) – A bygone era is returning to the Capital City this weekend. After a year derailed by COVID-19 restrictions, 25 teams are returning to Columbus for the Ohio Cup Vintage Base Ball Festival.
“It’s accessible to a lot of people,” said Aaron Seddon, the manager for the Ohio Village Muffins. “Not everyone comes to baseball when they’re eight years old and plays it for the rest of their lives. Some people in their 20s, 30s, 40s figure out they want to get involved in the game in some way and this is an opportunity for them to do that.”
Seddon, a volunteer with the Ohio History Connection’s 1890s replica town, explained the sport showcases an early version of America’s favorite pastime. The Muffins play in the Ohio Village by rules developed in the 1860s, with vintage uniforms and equipment.
“Being able to, we call it, interpret, or explain, the evolution of the game to spectators is something we really enjoy,” he said.
2021 marks the 40th anniversary of the Muffins’ first season, making them arguably the oldest vintage base ball team in the country. They’re hosting two dozen other teams Saturday, September 4 – Sunday, September 5 for the Ohio Cup.
“I can’t think of a better example of what the vintage baseball community is and what we represent than this weekend,” said Rudy Frias, the captain for the Columbus Capitals.
Teams traveled from Michigan, Pennsylvania, Indiana, Tennessee, Minnesota and Missouri for one of the largest gatherings of vintage baseball in the country. Many share a love of history and the game.
“The best thing is the crack of the wood bat when you strike a ball. There’s no better feeling,” said Steve Sebert of the Rochester (Michigan) Grangers.
Frias added, “The game, the score, everything takes a backseat to just connecting with people.”
There are no trophies or official winners in the festival. The fast-paced games last less than an hour with spectators watching from lawn chairs and blankets. The Ohio Cup is advertised as family-friendly, with food trucks, activities, as well as crafts and games for children.
It’s happening Sept. 4-5 from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. each day.
You can watch the only women’s team, the Ohio Village Diamonds, at 1 p.m. Sunday.
Find more information about the Ohio Cup and the Ohio Village by visiting the Ohio History Connection’s web site.