Edison & Ford Winter Estates to Sponsor Vintage “Base Ball” Game and Lectures
FORT MYERS, Fla. (March 2, 2018) — Edison & Ford Winter Estates is celebrating vintage “base ball” with lectures on March 24 and 25 at the Estates and a vintage base ball game on March 25 at 11 a.m. at Terry Park.
Thomas Edison was a base ball fan and visited Lee County’s 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 entertained the team at his Fort Myers winter estate with refreshments and cigars.
Edison sponsored two semipro company teams, the Edisons and the Voltas. The teams played in Brooklyn at Edison Field. They also briefly played at the West End Oval around 1910 and at the Parade Ground in the 1930s.
In celebration of Edison’s love of base ball (correct spelling in the 1800s), Edison Ford is sponsoring an exhibition game between the Mudville Base Ball Club and Vintage Base Ball of Central Florida. The players will follow the rules used in the 1860s when umpires asked the fans for help with making a call, and players fielded the ball without gloves. The two teams will take on the personas of base ball teams that played in the 19th century and “Mr. Edison” will throw out the first pitch.
The following lectures are scheduled at Edison Ford:
March 24, 11 a.m. — “The Evolution of 19th Century Base Ball” outlines the development of the game, the equipment, uniforms and rules.
March 24, 12:30 p.m. — “Boston before the Red Sox” will highlight the game of “base ball” in Boston prior to the Boston Red Sox. Hall of Famers Mike “King” Kelly, Harry Wright and John Clarkson will be discussed.
March 24, 2 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 a.m. — “19th Century Big Business Practices through A. G. Spalding” 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.
Brian Sheehy, base ball historian, vintage base ball player and president of the Essex Base Ball Organization, a non-profit consisting of six clubs in Massachusetts that play and educate the public on how the game of base ball was played in the 19th century will give the presentations. Sheehy has traveled throughout the nation playing base ball for the Boston Beaneaters, instructing children’s clinics and giving lectures on base ball history.
All lectures will be held at the Edison & Ford Winter Estates and are included with museum admission (free for Edison Ford members). Anyone attending the lectures on March 24 will be admitted free to the vintage base ball game on March 25. Tickets for the game at Terry Park are $3 per person with children 12 and under admitted free.
Tickets may be purchased online at EdisonFordWinterEstates.org. For more information, call 239-334-7419.