Story and Photos by Emil Moffatt/WBAP 24/7 News
CARROLLTON (WBAP 24/7 News) -- At an open field next to the A.W. Perry Homestead Museum house in Carrollton, Wendel Dickason sets up a temporary backstop. Dickason will serve as umpire for a game between a team visiting from Farmers Branch and Carrollton's squad, and there's special emphasis on the rules for this baseball game.
The two teams are playing by the rules of the game from the very early days of baseball: the 1860s.
There are no gloves, fly balls played on a hop are considered outs and the players are dressed in time-period uniforms.
Russell "Lefty" Smith plays for Farmers Branch.
"I think part of it was subterfuge on my wife's part to get me out of the house and get some exercise," said Smith. "But, it was an easy sale."
He's dressed in a navy blue uniform with baggy pants, 3/4-length sleeves and block letters "F" and "M" on either side of the chest.
"The uniforms we have were manufactured on the specs according to a photograph that's at the Farmers Branch historical park. It's of the 1905-1907 era team. They had these uniforms recreated," said Smith.
While Smith is one of the more experienced players on the field this day, one of Carrollton's players is a rookie.
State Representative Ron Simmons jokes that he's been playign the vintage game "for about 30 minutes." He's spending part of his Saturday between the regular session and a special session in Austin on the ball field. He normally represents Carrollton, Lewisville and a small part of Dallas, but today, he's focused on baseball.
"This is my first exposure to it, but it's really interesting. It's a lot of camaraderie and fun, that's the main thing," said Simmons.
He says learning to play baseball without a glove, took some getting used to.
"The interesting thing is, you have to remember you don't have three or four more inches out there," said Simmons. "Your hand-eye coordination has to change a little bit. Actually It's not as bad as I thought.
"The other thing that helps is the grass height. It slows it down quite a bit. The ball is reasonably soft, it's a little bit harder than a t-ball."
It's a far cry from the high-definition scoreboards, multi-million dollar contracts and walk up music of big league ballparks. But it's still baseball, in its most pure and simple form.
That has a certain appeal for Randy Dickerson of Carrollton, one of the spectators taking in the game.
"I'll tell you, I couldn't do this that's for sure," said Dickerson. "This is incredible what these guys are doing.
Farmers Branch and Carrollton hope to take part in a vintage baseball tournament at the end of summer.
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