WEST PORTSMOUTH – If you just so happened to be in attendance Sunday in West Portsmouth, the vintage baseball game between the Reds Hall of Fame 1869 Red Stockings and the Portsmouth Pick 9 was like stepping back in time. For the few hundred plus in attendance which saw the Red Stockings take down the Portsmouth Pick 9 20-18 in seven innings (much closer than when the two faced off in 1869, a 40-0 win for the Red Stockings), the experience was nothing short of a blast.
“The talks actually started two years ago, but last summer weren’t able to put together the team,” said Mark Trapp, President of the Portsmouth Chapter of the Reds Hall of Fame. “So this year we worked with Sherry [Rowland] and Perry [Thacker] and we were able to find enough people that were interested to join the team this year. It was a great event, and a great turnout today. I’m just really surprised and pleased with how this turned out.”
The Portsmouth Pick 9 led for a large portion of Sunday’s vintage game, but a late rally by the Red Stockings allowed them to take home the win just as they did 150 years ago against the Portsmouth Riversides. In their first year as a team, the Red Stockings travelled all over America to take on the best teams that each area had to offer. In that first season, the Red Stockings posted a record of 57-0.
The structure of baseball today is the same as baseball 150 years ago when the Riversides and the Red Stockings faced off at Riverside Park in Portsmouth, but it’s the intricacies of the game that have changed for the better. Players 150 years ago did not have the luxury of having gloves or batting helmets. Also in the old days of playing, runners were not allowed to over run the base or it would be ruled as an automatic out. A full list of the old school rules can be found at https://vbba.org/beadles-1869/.
When the possibility of organizing this event came up to Trapp and considering the history Portsmouth, Scioto County and the surrounding area have played in the history of America’s favorite past time, Trapp couldn’t help but do everything possible to continue that connection between two of southern Ohio’s most historic cities.
“This is 150 years. Not only for the Reds, but also for Portsmouth,” Trapp said. “We’ve been around for a long time too. Luckily we were able to score today and we didn’t get blown out 40-0, but that Red Stockings team was 57-0. I thank Bryan Davis (County Commissioner) for helping us out, Earl Thomas Conley Park for letting us host the event. It took a lot of people to help put this together. Our Portsmouth Chapter of the Reds Hall of Fame keeps growing, and it’s events like this that help us keep growing.”
As events such as this continue to expand the interest in the Portsmouth Chapter of the Reds Hall of Fame, Trapp knows the importance of keeping the public engaged as well as keeping the connection between the Reds and Portsmouth alive and well.
“We’ll play these guys again next year,” Trapp stated. “And then Morehead, Kentucky also has a chapter and a team, so we’ll play them as well in the spring next year. If we can get three games a year, that’s the start of something great. Last year, some of the teams got to walk in the Opening Day parade, so that would be a great thing for us to be involved in. The important thing is to keep growing, and these games and the interest in this is what helps.”
Reach Jacob Smith at (740) 353-3101 ext. 1930, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or on Twitter @JacobSmithPDT © 2019 Portsmouth Daily Times, all rights reserved