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Published: Wednesday, 5/1/2013

Bare-handed base ball returns to Sylvania

The 2013 Great Black Swamp Frogs vintage baseball team. The 2013 Great Black Swamp Frogs vintage baseball team.

The Great Black Swamp Frogs of Sylvania open their 23rd season at home on Sunday with an authentic match of vintage base ball.

The team will play the Early Riser Base Ball Club from Detroit at 2 p.m. at Wildwood Preserve Metropark in Sylvania Township.

The Frogs play Civil War-era base ball according to the rules and customs of the 1860s. Although similar to a re-enactment, each game is real and competitive. The players demonstrate the game and educate spectators on the ways in which today’s game of baseball differs from the original version.

While there are similarities to today’s game — nine innings, nine fielders, and three outs per inning — the differences are clear: outfielders catch the ball bare-handed, hurlers (pitchers) toss the ball underhand, and every hitter puts the ball in play (no walks or strikeouts).

This year’s schedule includes trips to Michigan, Canada, various cities in Ohio, as well as several home games.

The Frogs will host the annual Sylvania Cup Tournament at Pacesetter Park Saturday June 15. Other clubs participating are Monitor Base Ball Club of Chelsea, Mich.; Wyandotte Ghostriders, Upper Sandusky; and Spiegel Grove Squires, Fremont.

In 2012, the Frogs won 14 of 23 games; since 1991, they have won 254 of 413 games played.

For more information on the Great Black Swamp Frogs and bare-handed baseball, visit or call Rick at 419-843- 1725.

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