If you want to see base ball the way it was meant to be played -- by 1860s rules, without gloves and with a gentlemanly spirit -- check out the inaugural Gustave Koerner-Illinois Cup on Saturday at Belleville-Swansea Moose Lodge 1221 in Swansea.
The Belleville Stags Vintage Base Ball Club will host the tournament, which also features the Murphysboro Clarkes, Springfield Long Nine and the Vermillion Voles.
The clubs represent the formative years of base ball with their style of play and vintage uniforms.
The clubs and attending "cranks" will pause at 2 p.m. in observance of Memorial Day. A keynote address will be given by the United States' 16th president, Abraham Lincoln.
In addition to the vintage base ball action, Saturday's events will include an encampment and display by members of the Illinois 3rd Volunteer Regiment, a group of "living" Civil War historians; a campaign rally and memorabilia by the "Wide Awakes," a period political group which supported the election of Abraham Lincoln.
A full-service concession stand will be available with grilled foods and cold drinks.
Here's Saturday's schedule:
10:45 a.m. Opening Ceremony
11 a.m. Stags and Clarks; Long Nine and Voles
12:30 p.m. Clarkes and Voles; Stags and Long Nine
2 p.m. Memorial Day observance; adress by President Lincoln
2:30 p.m. Stags and Voles; Long Nine and Clarkes
4 p.m. Tie Breaker Championship Match
ABOUT THE STAGS: The Belleville Stags BBC is a group of local men who play base ball (yes, it was two words) by rules published in 1860. Rules of the day included one-bound outs and no gloves! In addition, the Stags and their opponents wear authentic vintage uniforms, speak in 19th century terms and adhere to behavioral norms of the period, which makes base ball a true "gentleman's game."
ABOUT GUSTAVE KOERNER: The tournament takes its name from Gustave Koerner (1809-1896), a German immigrant who practiced law in Belleville and eventually was elected to the Illinois House of Representatives, served in the Illinois Supreme Court, and became the 12th Lieutenant Governor of Illinois. A close friend and confidant of Abraham Lincoln, Koerner was an early member of the Republican party, helping to formulate its anti-slavery platform. A local effort has been launched to restore his Belleville home -- located at the corner Mascoutah and Abend Streets, near downtown -- into a museum.