Submitted by Fabre Sanders
Written by Joanne Hulbert
The Massachusetts Game of Base Ball was first codified in 1858 by a convention in Dedham Mass that included delegates from several Massachusetts cities and towns, including a prominent delegation from Holliston.
The game was popular during the time that the New York style of the game gained dominance, and eventually supplanted the Massachusetts game due to its more practical rules. Nevertheless, the Massachusetts game is still played in a few places such as the Boston area, Cooperstown NY and in Holliston.
The Holliston games started in 2004, and have continued each year with a Championship of the Town game held annually at the end of September. The Mudville Base Ball Club has dominated the championship games and continues to promote knowledge of the game by way of the New England Vintage Base Ball Association.
The Mudville team's principle rival is the "Guns and Hoses" Base Ball Team comprised of fire department and police department players. Although not having yet won a championship, each year the team gets closer to a winning score.
How is the Massachusetts Game different from the game of baseball we know today? For one, to get a runner out, you can hit the player with a tossed ball. There are four bases instead of three, and each side has from 10 to 14 players. One out means the whole side is out, and the official score for the winner can be as high as 100 tallies.
Other than that, in order to appreciate the game for all its glory, come on out on September 30, at one o'clock at Goodwill Park and have a look. It is always a fun time.