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1860s base ball exhibition held at Pioneer Park

Christopher Nelson of the St. Croix pitches to Nathan Berry of the Rum River Rovers during an old-time base ball exhibition on Saturday morning at Pioneer Park in Hastings. (Star Gazette photo by Chad Richardson)1 / 3
Afton Red Socks’ Raymond Hanson gets hitting advice from Brian Hairdahl of the Menomonie Blue Caps. (Star Gazette photo by Chad Richardson)2 / 3
Rum River Rover captain Eric Hirsch has a laugh with Peter Davis and Tom Sonquist. (Star Gazette photo by Chad Richardson)3 / 3

Pioneer Park sure lived up to its name on Saturday, Aug. 6. In front of a nice crowd of people relaxing on lawn chairs in the shade, players from several area vintage base ball teams played an exhibition game. The players were following rules that governed the game in the 1860s.

The game was played in an effort to draw attention to the activity. It’s hoped that Dakota County could form its own team to play against others in the area. Players on Saturday came from Afton, Stillwater, Anoka County and Menomonie, Wisconsin.

Learning the rules of 1860s base ball is easier than it sounds – the game was governed by less than 40 rules, according to Dakota County Historical Society executive director Matt Carter. The main difference between base ball then and baseball today is that fielders did not use gloves.

Anyone interested in participating should contact Carter for further details. He can be reached at 651-552-7548, or via email at