HUZZAH! to the SPIEGEL GROVE SQUIRES:
The Diary of a Vintage "ballist"
By: Jerry Wasserman
September 21: The Tiffin-Seneca County Heritage Festival organized a vintage base ball exhibition for the first time since 2007. There were five teams participating. The 2 inches of rain the previous evening made for difficult playing conditions. Most of the outfielders in the matches we played had mud covering their backs as a result of having their feet slip out from under them trying to make a play. Our first match pitted us against a familiar foe, The Canal Fulton Mules. We were victorious by a score of 11-1. Fly, Ballpark, and Speedy had 5 hits for the Squires. Wings collected 4 hits. Hammer, Numbers, Ram, and Block chipped in with 3 hits. Diamond and Lefty each had 2 hits.
Our second match was against a first time opponent, The Crossing Rails of Alliance. We were on the correct side of a 16-8 score at games end. Numbers had 6 hits to lead the Squires strikers. Ram collected 5 hits. Ballpark, Hammer, and Diamond each had 4 hits. Fly and Lefty had 3 hits and Wings and Speedy 2 each. Our season is completed and we finished with a record of 14-5.
August 22 : The Squires played host to the Stemtown Stinkers who made the trip to Spiegel Grove from Green Springs, Ohio, on a beautiful afternoon to play base ball. The Squires were on the winning side of a 21-5 score on the Williams and Son Masonry Scoreboard. The Squires were led in the hitting department by Rosie who hit for the cycle. Others with four hits include Numbers (double and triple), Dealer, Block, Bat, and Fingers (Home Run). Three hits were achieved by Ballpark (double), Hammer (double), Speedy, Wings, and Stockings . Fly (two doubles) and Diamond checked in with two safeties each. This was the Squires final home game of the season and there was another great crowd to watch us play. The Squires and Stinkers enjoyed a fine post game meal in the Hayes Museum thanks to the generous sponsorship of KF Construction and Excavating LLC.
August 10-11 : The Spiegel Grove Squires made the trip north to Greenfield Village for the 11th year in a row to participate in the World Tournament of Historic Base Ball . This is a tournament that all of the players look forward to every year. We had 17 players present. It is always a challenge for me to put the best team on the field and at the same time get everyone playing time. Tallyman and Lady Kay were unable to attend and were sorely missed. We had no one to keep stats. Our first match was Saturday morning at 11 a.m. against The Unknowns, one of Greenfield Villages three teams. We had some costly errors, they hit well and we lost 13-6. This automatically dropped us into the losers bracket. So we then were playing for the reserve championship. We played again at 3:30 p.m. against the Canal Fulton Mules. They were stubborn as mules but we held on for a 12-9 victory. Our next match at 9 a.m. Sunday pitted us against the Wyandot Starts from Wyandot, Michigan. We played a great game for a 12-7 victory. We played again at noon against the same Unknowns that beat us the first game. It was a back-and-forth contest but the Unknowns prevailed again by a score of 12-8. Our tournament was complete. The weather was perfect for base ball. We have played there in years past in rain and searing heat but this weekend was ideal. The Squires record is now 11-5.
August 4 : The Sylvania Great Black Swamp Frogs provided the opposition for The Squires for the fourth time this season. The Squires were victorious on the Williams and Son Masonry scoreboard by a score of 9-7. It was the first game played without the tree behind first base. We would like to thank the Hayes Center grounds crew and anyone else who made the field playable. They did a fantastic job with the cleanup. Ram, Ballpark, and Fingers lead the Squires hitting charge with 3 apiece. Hammer (double), Speedy (2 doubles), Rosie (double), Dealer, Lefty (double), Stockings, and Wings had 2 safeties each. It was a perfect afternoon for base ball and there were a good number of cranks there to enjoy the game. We enjoyed another great post-game meal thanks to the generous support of KF Construction and Excavating.
July 27 : The Spiegel Grove Squires headed west to participate in the Sauder Village Cup tournament. Our first match was against a familiar foe, the Great Black Swamp Frogs of Sylvania. We were having an easy time and went into the last inning with a 10-4 lead. The Frogs however did not give up and scored 7 runs and we ended up on the wrong side of an 11-10 score. Iron Horse paced the Squires strikers with 3 hits. Hammer, Lefty, Bat, and Wings had 2 hits each. Our second match was against the Ohio Village Muffins. The Squires had the lead the entire game but the Muffins would not go away. The score was tied going to the last inning and the Squires scored 3 runs to gain the victory by a 9-6 score. Stockings was the hitting leader with 4. Speedy and Diamond had 3 hits each. Ballpark, Ram, Lefty, Fingers, and Wings each checked in with 2 safeties. At the conclusion of the game the umpire awarded the winning team the game ball which I promptly gave to Speedy . Speedy had several defensive gems in right field that allowed us to stay in the game.
July 21: The Squires were scheduled to play the Clodbuster base ball club of Dayton, Ohio. However, four inches of rain in the early morning of July 20 weakened the root system of the huge tree that was located between first and second base causing it to blow over and cover most of the infield. The match had to be cancelled. The tree has been in the Grove for decades and it really added character to the playing field. Many opposing teams have come to Squires field for the first time and looked in wonder at the obstacles that needed to be played around. Left handed batters loved to try to hit into that tree because it caused the ball to bounce into unknown places. I can recall catching in a game when a ball was hit into the tree and bounced back to home plate and I caught it on the first bounce for an out. Every player on our team has cursed that tree at one time or another but it will be missed.
July 14: For the third year, the Spiegel Grove Squires hosted a Celebrity All Stars exhibition match. Some of the All Stars have played all three years, some two years and several were first time players this year. They all seemed to enjoy themselves and the match allowed them to participate without the commitment of a full season. Therese Vinal, a sportscaster from WNWO in Toledo, was there to do a feature for the six oclock news. I invited her to participate and she pinch-hit for me. She has played ball in the past and had a solid single and came around to score. We nicknamed her Prime Time. Daniel Carson was there from the News-Messenger and had a nice article and pictures in the paper. The Williams and Son Masonry scoreboard showed the Squires with a 16-8 advantage at games end. Iron Horse paced the Squires strikers with 4 hits - one being a triple. Rosie (double), Dealer, Diamond (double), Lefty and Ballpark each checked in with 3 safeties. Fly (double), Fingers, and Wings had 2 hits each. Bat and Numbers took turns pitching for the All Stars. Bat had 2 hits and Numbers 3 and each hit a double. All of the players and families enjoyed pizza after the game thanks to the sponsorship of KF Construction and Excavating.
June 22 : The Squires along with the Stemtown Stinkers and the Sylvania Great Black Swamp Frogs were invited to Delta, Ohio, to play for the Sesquicentennial celebration. It was designed to be an educational event for the town and was well received. The Frogs, due to an error on their schedule, were short players so some of the townspeople played on their team. I was the catcher for the Squires and recruited several different townies who were watching the game to catch an inning and try their turn at bat. We ended the first game with a dozen young kids trying their hand at the bat. The kids enjoyed it and I noticed at least one proud grandparent cheering for her boy. Our first match was against the Frogs and we were victorious by a score of 11-3. Pacing the Squires strikers with three safeties were Fly, Iron Horse, Speedy, Rosie, and Lefty . Wings and Block chipped in with two hits. Ballpark, Ram, and Fingers had one hit each. We played the second match against the Stemtown Stinkers and were on the correct side of a 12-5 score. Ram and Block each contributed four hits. Speedy and Fingers had three hits. Fly, Ballpark, Stockings, Rosie, and Lefty chimed in with two hits. Iron Horse and Wings had one hit. Our next match will be at Spiegel Grove against the Celebrity All Stars.
June 15 : The Spiegel Grove Squires participated in the Sylvania Cup tournament at Pacesetter Park and were tournament champions for the third year in a row! The first match was against our hosts, the Sylvania Great Black Swamp Frogs and we were victorious. We then defeated the Wyandotte Ghost Riders and were victorious over The Monitor Base Ball Club from Michigan. The Frogs' captain wanted all of the scoring sheets so our Tallyman was not able to get me the statistics to report in this article. The Frogs have games of skill between matches and our own Speedy won a plaque for being the fastest to circle the bases in a timed event. After having our picture taken in full uniform, we were treated to a barbecue chicken dinner that we could smell the aroma from for the entire afternoon.
May 18 : The Spiegel Grove Squires made the journey to Green Springs to play the Stemtown Stinkers during Civil War days in Green Springs. There are many trees in the outfield which contribute to the fact that there were many ground rule doubles. A couple of the trees were struck by line drives and a cloud of pollen erupted from them after being struck. The Squires were triumphant by a score of 33-15. Leading the Squires hitting parade was Iron Horse with 5 hits including a home run and two doubles. Collecting four hits was Fly (2 doubles), Ball Park (2 doubles), Hammer (1 double), Fingers (one double), Speedy (one triple, two doubles) and Dealer . Three safeties were made by Rosie (two doubles) Block, Ram, and Diamond (one double). Bird Bath and Wings had two hits each, with Wings getting a double. The Stinkers had several players lined up to play that were not able to because of having to work at Whirlpool. They still are learning the game but have more games scheduled for this year and we will no doubt play them again this season.
May 5 : The Spiegel Grove Squires were rained out of their first scheduled game April 28 with the Wyandot Ghost Riders. So our trip to Akron May 5 was the beginning of the season. Our first game pitted us against a team from Somerset, Pennsylvania, called The Frosty Sons of Thunder. We watched them play their first game against the Akron Black Stockings and they did not look to be that good. Looks can be deceiving however, as they were on the correct side of an 11-6 score against the Squires. Leading the Squires strikers with two safeties was Fly who had a double and single, Iron Horse, Ram, Dealer, Block, Rosie and Lefty . Squires ballists collecting one hit were Ball Park, Bat, Numbers, Stockings and Wings .
Our second game was against the tournament hosts the Akron Black Stockings. It was a defensive struggle with Akron scoring six runs in one inning while we held them scoreless in all other innings. The problem was Akron held us scoreless in all innings to win 6-0. Fly, Bat and Ram each had two hits for the Squires. Hammer, Ball Park, Iron Horse, Block, and Rosie had one hit each for the Squires.