The Great Rematch II
With the series tied at 1-1, it's the return to Wahconah
Park for the rubber match game. Unlike Game One which was a night
game, this game would be an afternoon affair beginning at 1 o'clock.
It is a beautiful, warm and sunny Labor Day Weekend with temperature
in the 80's.
Without ESPN Classic's involvement, it is wondered
what level of fan interest may exist in a second vintage
game at Wahconah Park. Would this become a One Hit Wonder?
By game time, the question is answered as nearly 3,000 paying
fans attend -- completely filling the ballpark's grandstand seating
and good portions of sideline bleachers and outfield seating.
The outfield seating idea was incorporated into Game One to accommodate
the huge ticket demand and was a typical approach used by 19th
and early 20th century ball clubs to increase ballpark seating
for high interest games.
One of most pleasurable and inspiring moments from Game One involved
a young girl retrieving a base hit into the left field corner
and handing the ball back to the outfielder who then threw to
the cutoff, continuing the play. There is no fan interference
call or ground rule double. Everything in the field of play is
An Irish Bag Pipe Marching Band leads into Wahconah Park a
parade of Hillies players arriving in vintage mint early 20th
century automobiles. Once again, Jim "Bulldog" Bouton
has spared no expense to re-create the pageantry and ambiance
of Game One. Pre-game ceremonies include a "first pitch"
by a 92-year old original Pittsfield Hillies fan who attended
games in the 1920's. On the eve of her birthday, she is loudly
serenaded with "Happy Birthday" by the crowd and players.
"These games are special and they should be treated as
such," said Bouton. "It is a historical athletic competition
that is part theatre wrapped around a game of baseball."
Matt "Crazy Legs" March sends an early message to
Hillies tenacious southpaw pitcher Terry "Lefty" Bishop
with a long homerun to left giving the Senators an early 2-0
lead. Pittsfield, however, would quickly answer back with two
tallies. By mid-game, the Hillies would move ahead 7-4.
Bishop continues a complete-game masterpiece striking out
10 and allowing eight hits. The Senators' players acknowledge
his performance as the finest tossed against them in their four-year
A five-run uprising in the eighth would give Pittsfield a
12-4 win and series advantage. The season has now ended for both
Hartford and Pittsfield. It has been a remarkable summer between
two clubs, drawn together in 19th century baseball spirit, who
showcased vintage base ball to a small Massachusetts town of
45,000 and to hundreds of thousands more on national television.
And it all started with a "hunch" idea and a phone
call. That's probably the real drama of vintage base ball --
there are no limitations, only opportunities to explore, create,
develop, entertain, educate and just have fun on the field along