FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

May 12, 2004

FIFTH ANNUAL HARTFORD VINTAGE BASE BALL INVITATIONAL ANNOUNCED FOR BUSHNELL PARK

HARTFORD SENATORS TO PLAY 4th of JULY AT HISTORIC BALLPARK TRIBUTE ORGANIZED BY FORMER NEW YORK YANKEES STAR & AUTHOR JIM BOUTON

HARTFORD, CT - 19th century baseball returns to downtown Hartford’s historic Bushnell Park this summer as the fifth annual Hartford Vintage Base Ball Invitational takes the field July 2,3,4 tournament organizers announced today. Admission is free, and baseball action is continuous daily from noon-8pm.

“The tournament continues to evolve into a very special mid-summer Hartford holiday sporting event celebrating the roots and original spirit of our National Pastime,” said tournament founder and director Greg Martin.

Vintage base ball, a new and growing national sport, features amateur clubs adhering to the rules, uniform styles, equipment and competitive gentlemanly play while offering spectators an opportunity to experience baseball living history.

Considered one of the signature vintage tournaments in the country, the event will feature clubs from NJ, NY, CT, MA and RI participating in 1871 and 1886 era bracket games involving nearly 200 ballplayers. The previous Hartford Tournaments have drawn a combined 25,000 spectators.

Games begin at noon on Friday July 2 and Saturday July 3. Sunday will feature the Capital City Cup Championship games for each era bracket beginning at noon and 3pm.

Bushnell Park will include two 19th century inspired ball fields. The primary field, Bushnell Park East, will include era backstop, manual scoreboard, wood outfield snow fence, concessions, souvenirs/memorabilia and baseball history exhibits. A new second field, Bushnell Park West, will offer an inspiring State Capitol Building backdrop nestled between the Pavilion Stage and Corning Water Fountain.

On Saturday, July 3, Hartford’s annual Riverfest celebration, will include the region’s largest fireworks display preceded by a mid-afternoon music and arts festival.

The tournament is produced by Hartford-based Vintage Base Ball Factory, LLC, a baseball sporting goods company that manufactures 19th century uniforms, baseballs and gloves. The company has produced uniforms and equipment for several Minor League and vintage ball clubs throughout the country.

HARTFORD SENATORS TO PLAY TRIBUTE GAME AT HISTORIC WAHCONAH PARK
On Sunday evening July 4, the Hartford Senators Vintage Base Ball Club, considered one of the finest vintage teams in the country, will participate in a special “last game” tribute to Wahconah Park in Pittsfield, MA. The event, organized by former New York Yankees star and Ball Four book author Jim Bouton, is expected to attract a sellout crowd of several thousand and will include post-game fireworks.

Shortly after the event, Wahconah Park, one of the oldest remaining ballparks in the country dating to 1892, will undergo a multi-million dollar restoration led by Bouton and his partner Chip Elitzer. The ballpark, to re-open in 2005, will be home to a publicly owned Independent League professional baseball club.

The game will also celebrate Pittsfield’s recent claim as baseball’s true birthplace having discovered the earliest known baseball reference anywhere in the United States. The document, a Pittsfield bylaw which restricts the playing of baseball in Pittsfield, is dated 1791, more than 30 years prior to the previously recognized date. The first collegiate baseball game was also played in Pittsfield in 1859 between Amherst and Williams College.

The newly formed Pittsfield Hillies Vintage Base Ball Club, assembled under the direction of Bouton and Elitzer and comprised of former college and professional ballplayers, will be the Senators’ opponent and reunites the two Eastern League rivals (1919-1930) for their first meeting in nearly 75 yeas.

“Vintage baseball brings back the old-time feeling that has gotten completely lost in the game’s recent years,” said Bouton who won 39 games over two seasons on the legendary Yankees clubs of 1963 and 1964 including a 2-0 World Series record against the St. Louis Cardinals in ‘64.

Bouton’s recently published book, Foul Ball, chronicles his group’s attempt to save Pittsfield’s historic Wahconah Park from the wrecking ball with a unique privately funded ballpark development plan. “Pittsfield is excited to host this special vintage baseball event as part of the City’s celebration of its place in baseball history,” he added. “We’re expecting a very special night at the old ballpark.”

At the conclusion of the Hartford Invitational, the Senators will board a chartered bus to Pittsfield.

FOR MORE INFORMATION:
Greg Martin
860-728-0820
[email protected]

www.hartfordvintagebaseball.com





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