Sponsored by the Larry Dierker Chapter of the Society for American Baseball Research, the Houston Babies vintage baseball team seeks to maintain the game’s historic roots, sans million-dollar contracts, performance enhancing drugs, dry-fit apparel technology and even baseball gloves. The Babies’ roster is loosely filled with SABR and non-SABR enthusiasts and cranks of the 19th-century version of the game. The team is named in appreciative honor of the first professional base ball club in our geographic area, the 1888 Houston Babies.
1860 Baseball Rules
• A gentleman’s game. No swearing, scratching, chewing, or spitting.
• Players do not wear gloves.
• No sliding, leading off bases, or stealing bases.
• The “striker (batter)” may not run over first base.
• A batted ball is determined fair or foul by where it hits the ground.
• A striker is out when a batted ball is caught on one bound off the ground, fair or foul or on the fly.
• Foul tips are not strikes.
• A runner may not advance if a striker’s ball is caught on the fly. He will be instructed to his base and may not be put out. A runner may advance at his own risk if the striker’s ball is caught on one bound, fair or foul.
• Players crossing home plate must then proceed to the tallykeeper’s table, place one hand on the table, raise the other hand and ask the tallykeeper to please tally his “ace (score or run)” for the team. He is then instructed to strike the tally bell and only then does the ace count.
• In “hurling (pitching),” the ball must be hurled underhanded.
• The umpire does not call balls but may call strikes if deemed necessary.
• The umpire can levy fines on the spot for ungentlemanly conduct.
• The Umpires may ask players and cranks for assistance in making calls.