Grangers Conclude Landmark Season

On a late summer afternoon, the Rochester Grangers vintage base ball club convened at Van Hoosen Farm to draw the curtain on another successful campaign. Summoned by their Paleolithic patriarch, Patrick “Barnraiser” McKay, the suspendered stalwarts completed their 25th season with a match against the powerful Canton Cornshuckers. Featuring a lineup that included a murderers’ row of mendacious mashers, the visitors posed a credible threat to the bucolic quietude of the exhibition grounds.     

Jim “Pegleg” Saraceno prepares to strike for the Grangers

At this stage of the season the Grangers were able to muster a squadron of only nine ballists, the rigors of the season having taken a toll on their fighting trim. Among the afflicted participants were Scott “Chooch” Westgate, gamely jousting with another bout of the dreaded grippe, and Jim “Pegleg Saraceno, whose appearance came courtesy of a suspicious day-pass from the infirmary.    

A boisterous throng of cranks were on hand to take in the proceedings, on a perfectly sumptuous day at the stoney-walled confines.  After a toss of umpire Bob “Piller” Lytle’s divining stone, the Shuckers struck first, tallying a quartet of aces in their initial turn at bat. The Rochesters responded with a flurry of aces of their own to take a slender lead, which they increased by a half dozen thanks to long distance salvos from Dave “Nails” Mallmann and Don “Scrap Iron” Kowalski.    

It was at this juncture that the match came to a grinding halt. The precipitating cause was a Canton batter whose wayward striking propelled repeated foul balls over the split rail fence in right field, dispatching a gaggle of Granger ballists to fish them out of the neighboring tributary. Rapidly running out of game balls, the carnage was finally stanched after a dire warning by the umpire, who threatened Museum action on behalf of an aggrieved bandersnatch for loss of consortium and habitat.    

Play having resumed, the Rochesters reprised their commitment to hitting and defensive posturing, managing three double plays in an effort to sabotage the work of the Children of the Corn. In a contest decided by just a few plays, the Grangers were undone in the ninth inning by an untimely shortage of health, though not of heart.    

Upon completion of the well-played match, the spectators were slow to depart the palisade, savoring the brilliance on display while joining in the singing of the Granger anthem, “For the Love of the Game”. The Grangers now conclude their season with an invitation to the Greenfield Village World Tournament of Vintage Base Ball. The men who don the red and black look forward to another 25 years of base ball , measuring success not by their won-loss ledger, but by memories shared and an abiding respect for the game.

This chronicle was contributed by Douglas “Moonlight” Otlewski in the style of the 1860s. For further information on the schedule, please contact the Rochester Hills Museum at Van Hoosen Farm, 248-656-4663, or peruse the new-fangled Granger Facebook Page for further information on the club.

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