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Williston State College plans historic baseball game

Thursday, May 6th, 2010
Posted by Roxane Molinari

Whether you're a true baseball fanatic, or you've not seen a game since you or your kids played little league years ago, you won't want to miss the Old Time Baseball Game at 5 p.m. Monday, May 10, on the college campus, near the water tower.

WSC Assistant Professor of history and political science Richard Stenberg and Teton Baseball Coach Kelly Heller got together a few years back and put together the special topics course, History 299 - Historic Baseball. The classwork includes a research project, a small lecture component, learning the game and playing by the rules, Stenberg said.

Stenberg offered the course for the second time this year, during the spring 2010 semester. "It (the class) culminates in an 1870's style baseball game, which is part of their final grade," Stenberg said. "That's the time - that I can document - that baseball arrived in what is now North Dakota. This would have been typical of the games played at Fort Buford, the military fort located about 24 miles west of present-day Williston."

Members of class will be make up the roster of the Willyville Nine; the opposition, the Little Muddy Mashers, is a composition team comprised mainly of WSC faculty and staff, with a few community members thrown in for good measure, Stenberg said. "Whether or not you know anyone who is playing, you will be entertained."

The public is welcome to attend the game as cranks, which is the 19th century term for fans. "Period games would have witnessed the teams serenading the fans, but in lieu of that, the WSC choir will present some numbers at 5 p.m.," Stenberg said.

Some other points Stenberg mentioned included that the pitcher is called a hurler; the batter is a striker; and the catcher is the behind. "One of the primary things to look for in this style game is that the ball can bounce one time and if it's caught, it is an out," Stenberg said. "It's one of the major differences compared to the modern day game."

However, you may want to stop at the bank and pick up a roll of dimes before you come to the game. "If you come to watch, bring your dimes because the umpire, which is me, has the option to fine the players and/or the spectators a dime for heckling, bad taste or just because I don't like their shoes!" Stenberg laughed.