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Vintage baseball coming to GHS diamond

David Sowders
Posted 2/21/24

Spring won’t be long in arriving, and with it comes baseball season.

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Vintage baseball coming to GHS diamond


Spring won’t be long in arriving, and with it comes baseball season. But on Saturday, March
9 Globe will have a chance to see a different twist on America’s pastime. The Arizona Vintage Base Ball League is coming to Globe High School’s Central Field for the city’s inaugural vintage baseball tournament - a day of games different played by 1861 rules, in old-style uniforms.

“It's a fun event to come out to because it's such a unique aspect of baseball that people don't usually see,” said Patrick Murphy, captain of the league's Higley Haymakers.

What will that look like? One big difference from today’s ball is that players won’t be wearing gloves. Another is that balls can be caught on one bounce for an out. Position names are different, too; pitchers are “hurlers” and umpires are “arbitrators.” In these games, hurlers will be throwing underhanded. “Back then it wasn’t about striking out. They’re simply trying to give the batter something to hit,” said Murphy.

Then there are the uniforms. “Most people have relatively as correct uniforms as we can to the period of 1861,” said Murphy. “We [Higley] have button-down shirts, bow ties, suspenders – just trying to look like a gentleman out there. Some of the other teams have different variations of that.”

The idea for a tournament in Globe started last October, when the league played a showcase game at Noftsger Field. “People were really interested in it,” said Murphy. One spectator, Jonathan Sukosky, statistician for the Tigers' varsity baseball team, asked about bringing an event here – and so it was arranged, courtesy of Globe High baseball.

“I’m excited to play there (Central Field),” said Murphy. “It’s big but it’s got that historic feel to it, especially those bleachers kind of tucked up against the mountain over there.”

Three teams – the Buckeye Bombers, Higley Haymakers and Phoenix Senators – have been confirmed for the tournament. Two to three others – the Bisbee Black Sox, Tucson Saguaros and “at least most of” the Mesa Miners - were pending. The games will start at 9:30 Saturday morning.

Murphy said the Arizona Vintage Base Ball League got its start around 2010, and he discovered it through a Bisbee tournament named the Copper Classic. “They were actually asking for players, so I gave it a whirl and fell in love with it.” Murphy played for the Bisbee Black Sox before founding the Haymakers in 2022.

“We have an array (of experience),” he said. “We have people who played very competitive baseball or softball, and people who played Little League and that was the last they ever played. We joke that we age from 20 to 80, but it’s pretty true. We have people in their 70s and we have 20-year-olds.”

Arbitrators (umpires), he said, are usually town dignitaries - “like a mayor, a judge or another big name” - and the league was seeking an arbitrator for the Globe tournament. “If someone's interested in trying that, we'd love that.

“We’re calling it a tournament, but it’s not necessarily what we think of as a tournament. There’s no real winner of the whole day. We like to call them baseball festivals, where it’s just a bunch of teams playing.”