Museum Talks: Base Ball in the 19th Century


“Base Ball” in the 19th Century

     Who knew Thomas Edison was a baseball fan! Edison visited Lee County’s baseball field, Terry Park, during the Philadelphia Athletics spring training season. He hit balls with Ty Cobb, posed for photos with the Phillies General Manager, Connie Mack and invited the team over to his winter estate for refreshments and cigars. In celebration of Edison’s interest in baseball, the Edison & Ford Winter Estates will offer presentations on “base ball” (yes … that is how the game was spelled in the late 1800s) during the Boston Red Sox and Minnesota Twins Spring Training season.
March 24, 11:00 a.m. “The Evolution of 19th Century Base Ball” This presentation outlines the development of the game, the equipment, uniforms and rules.
March 24, 12:30 p.m. “Boston Before the Red Sox” Have you ever heard of the Lowell Base Ball Club or the Tri Mountains? Did you know Boston dominated the “base ball” scene in the 1870s? Have you heard of Hall of Famers Mike “King” Kelly, Harry Wright, or John Clarkson? Visitors will learn about the game of “base ball” in Boston prior to the Boston Red Sox.
March 24, 2:00 p.m. “Bat and Ball Games since Colonial Times,” will focus on the bat and ball games that helped shape and develop the game of baseball that we know today.
March 25, 11:00 a.m. “19th Century Big Business Practices through A. G. Spaulding”  offers visitors a glimpse into the practices of businessmen John D. Rockefeller and Andrew Carnegie who have come to represent the most successful titans of industry during the Gilded Age. The presentation is designed to show how Albert Goodwill Spalding used many of the same business practices and principles to achieve the same type of business success in the sporting goods industry that Rockefeller and Carnegie achieved in oil and steel.
     Lectures will be presented by Brian Sheehy, “base ball” historian, Vintage Base Ball player and President of the Essex Base Ball Organization, a non-profit organization consisting of six clubs in Massachusetts that play and educate the public on how the game of baseball was played in the 19th Century. Sheehy has traveled throughout the nation playing Base Ball for the Boston Beaneaters, instructing children’s clinics, and giving lectures on baseball history.
     All presentations will be held at the Edison & Ford Winter Estates. All participants attending the lectures on March 24 will receive free admission to the Vintage Base Ball game scheduled to take place at Terry Park in Fort Myers on March 25.  No registration required; included with museum admission.