Send the DH to the bench; leave the protective helmets in the equipment locker; and be prepared to hurl a complete game every game, if you happen to be the pitcher. The Monmouth Furnace Vintage Base Ball Club is back on the Greater Red Bank Green — and once again, it’ll be playing the Great American Pastime according to 60’s-era rules. The 1860s, that is.
Based at Allaire State Park — and playing a summertime schedule within a regional amateur league of Vintage Base Ball clubs — the organization formerly known as the “Bog Iron Boys” returns to Little Silver this Sunday as part of a special day at the historic Parker Homestead 1665.
Captained by dedicated history buff Russ McIver, the Furnace squad will face the New York Mutuals, a fellow franchise in the Mid-Atlantic Vintage Base Ball League, in a game that gets underway 12 p.m. at Sickles Park, just off Rumson Road and adjacent to Sickles Market.
Attendees at the free-admission game will have a chance to enjoy a meet-and-greet with the players, who will discuss the old-school “Beadle Rules” with young players from the Little Silver Recreational Baseball League.
Expect a game that’s quite a bit different than the modern MLB norm, both in style of dress — no helmets, often no mitts and, in the Monmouth team’s case, an accent on gentlemanly neckwear — and style of play (underhand pitching; balls caught on the bounce for an out, and jockeying for favored first-bat status, since those vintage baseballs tend to deaden as the game wears on).
A followup to a well-received exhibition last year, the game is keyed to a Sunday open house at the Parker Homestead, the 350-year old local landmark whose ongoing restoration has been the subject of numerous public-welcome events over the past several seasons.
The house and its outbuilding barns will be open between 10:30 a.m. and 4 p.m. for tours, with a look at the Parker family’s cache of 1908 Philadelphia Caramel Company baseball cards — a collection that includes Baseball Hall of Famers Ty Cobb and Christy Mathewson — and Doug Parker’s own circa-1925 Wilson baseball mitt.
Food truck refreshments will be available for purchase throughout the day. Take it here for more information and schedule updates on the Monmouth Furnace team, courtesy of that newfangled tangle of tubes known as the internets.