Mont Vernon honors early baseball pioneer
MONT VERNON – After a two-year hiatus, the Mont Vernon Historical Society and Lamson Farm Commision welcomed visitors back to Lamson Farm Day recently. Along with the familiar sights and sounds was a 19th century baseball game played by the “Laws of Base Ball” as they were written in 1857 by Mont Vernon’s native son, Daniel L. “Doc” Adams while playing for the Knickerbocker Base Ball Club in New York City. Doc is credited by baseball historians as having created the shortstop position and the modern conventions of 90 foot base paths and 9 inning games.
In 2016, vintage baseball players representing clubs from around New England began playing a special game once a year to honor Doc Adams and raise awareness of his early contributions to baseball in hopes that he would make it to the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, NY. In 2017, the event was moved to the Lamson Farm and dubbed the Doc Adams Birthplace Classic and in 2018, through the efforts of Adams’ enthusiasts and the Mont Vernon village selectboard, signage was erected along Route 13 to draw attention to Doc’s importance as “a founding father of baseball.” There is also an entire nineteenth century baseball festival named in his honor that is held every July in Bethpage, NY.
Previous years’ games held in conjunction with Lamson Farm Day featured the New Hampshire Granite Vintage Base Ball Club masquerading as the Mont Vernon Docs playing one of several teams from the New England vintage baseball circuit. But when Doc failed to make the Early Baseball Era Committee’s ballot for the Hall of Fame last November, vintage baseball enthusiasts that had been planning to re-create a game featuring the original Knickerbocker Base Ball Club during the Induction Weekend in Cooperstown pivoted to re-create a special traveling team called the Knickerbocker Experience. Their only rules to join are that participants must wear period-accurate attire that is akin to what the original team wore during their matches in the mid-nineteenth century in New York City. With each game they play in different areas of the country, they hope to educate people on how baseball was played over 150 years ago while continuing to raise the awareness of Doc’s importance to baseball during its formative years. For more information, follow the Knickerbocker Experience on Facebook.