Play Ball!

Baseball challenge, 1894. MMN #23641

This charming hand-drawn and hand-painted item from Maine Memory Network is an invitation of sorts from the “Murphy Balsam” baseball team of Portland to the Poland Spring team, challenging the latter to a game.

The invitation notes that the Poland Spring team has recently lost its pitcher. The Poland Spring newspaper, the Hill-Top, reported that pitcher Ralph Plaisted and two teammates left the team on July 30, shortly before this invitation was issued. Defections to another team and drunkenness were alluded to as possible reasons. (Note the ceramic “pitcher” in the bottom right corner with the inscription “Plaiste.”)

We don’t expect any such shenanigans at this Saturday’s vintage baseball game at Cape Elizabeth’s Fort Williams Park between the Essex Base Ball Club of Massachusetts and Maine’s own Dirigo Vintage Baseball Club. Join us for a wicked good time around the diamond from 11AM-3PM. Games will be played at 11AM and 1PM according to the 1861 rules. You’ll even get to meet the players and run the bases in between. For more details, check out our program page.

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