Springfield Heritage Throwback Baseball: East vs West

May 9, 2007 10 comments Open printer friendly version of this article Print Article

The Springfield Heritage Throwback Baseball Game was held on May 5th in Klutho Park. It was put together over a series of months through the efforts of many Springfield residents.

After several weeks of research, we were able to locate a manufacturer in Connecticut that made uniforms for vintage leagues called the Vintage Baseball factory. (www.vbbf.com )

With much discussion, we decided to go with the early 20th Century era baseball, commonly referred to as "The Dead Ball Era". There were earlier examples of uniforms and equipment, but since Springfield's real heyday was just after the great fire in 1901, the more modern example of baseball seemed to be a better fit.

Over that same period of time we were able to locate and purchase era specific gloves, bats, and balls. The gloves were the biggest learning curve for the players. With no "pocket" to speak of, we had to learn how to catch a ball in our hand.

For the last three weeks leading up to the game, the players practiced every Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday. This was in its self a big challenge as every person playing has a career, family, and home that require much of their time.

The Jacksonville Parks and Recreation Department was also instrumental in helping get the field ready for the game. Adding 30 feet of clay and turning an oddly shaped softball field into a decent baseball field. While there were some bumps in the process, we are still very grateful for all of the work and effort that went into getting the field ready.

The game was a ton of fun to play in, and the spectators that came out were phenomenal. John Allen, of Boomtown Theatre fame, took the microphone for MC'ing duties, and did a great job keeping the fans in the game, including a stirring rendition of the National Anthem.

The Eastside put up a significant lead early on, leading 12-1 after 4 innings, the Westside tried to make a game of it, and came within 4 runs at one point. There was a lot of impressive play including a 300+ foot homerun into Hogans Creek by Eastside pitcher/outfielder Jimmy "The Howitzer" Holbrook, with two runners on base, and "Fast" Eddie Liberatori got them off to a great start throwing two scoreless innings.

For the Westside Mark "Buster" Shinn proved to be a vacuum at 3rd base, eating up any ball that came within range, and "Shoeless" Jimmy Gilliland threw an impressive 7 innings of baseball including several strikeouts..

The final score was 16-10, Eastside

There will be a rematch on July 4th, the location will be announced at a later date.

The full gallery can be viewed here: http://photos.metrojacksonville.com/gallery/7079103_sjyzQ

Thanks to Dan Blanchard for the game writeup.