Grangers Silver Anniversary a Hit

The sky was blue, the bounces were true and the grass was an emerald hue. Such was the scene at Van Hoosen Farm when the Grangers lately celebrated their 25th season of vintage base ball. To help with the festivities were the Columbus Capitals, who took a group of apprentice Rochester ballists, and taught them the vintage game a quarter century ago. As special guests the Grangers welcomed a number of returning players from that inaugural season.

On hand and in uniform were Mike “Cueball” Johnson, the renowned third sacker whose bald head has been signed by three governors and Bob “Roadblock” Grace, whose trademark nimble outfield play remains the standard for all time. They were accompanied by a player uniquely unburdened by self-doubt, Brad “Streetcar” Pfeifer, the co-founder of the Grangers. All demonstrated their skills, including the aforementioned Mr. Pfeifer, who displayed a calamitous unscheduled pirouette at first sack, which required his removal on a motorized gurney by fellow co-founder, Patrick “Barnraiser” McKay.

Adding to the festive atmosphere were the Guardians of Harmony, a tuneful vocal outfit who pealed off the “Star Spangled Banner” to kick start the match. Serving as bat boy for the day was Tommy “Home Run” Tyldesley, while manning the ice cream wagon was retired bat boy Jackson “Lightning” Otlewski. After introducing the other returning alumni, the modern-day battalion made their appearance. Wasting no time in unfurling their lumber, the suspendered stalwarts jumped out to an eight-run advantage, which they never relinquished throughout the match. Doing justice to their reputations, the current nine were cheered on by their more seasoned brethren.

By agreement of the Captains, refreshments, including a dessert-eating contest, were followed by a skills competition. The 20-minute interregnum was then followed by a second game, featuring an amalgam of young and old ballists. The break between matches brought an overflow of spectators to peruse the ongoing vintage carriage exhibition, featuring Mrs. Pontzer’s classic red Mustang. Meanwhile serious base ball enthusiasts displayed their ardor for the game in interviews conducted by this reporter. Many cranks were likewise drawn to a live podcast featuring base ball historian and vintage rules savant Paul “Pappy” Hunkele.

All in all, the day brought a double dose of base ball, apple pie and ice cream to Rochester, a perfect recipe for a reunion honoring the establishment of the Rochester Grangers Vintage Base Ball Club.

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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