Houston Babies play ball like the good old days

June 5, 2012 3:27:32 PM PDT
You know the Astros and the Skeeters, but have you heard of the Houston Babies?

Seeing the 2012 Houston Babies is like a trip back in time. It's the closest thing today to sandlot baseball. The team plays vintage baseball -- no gloves, no helmets and you must know the rules which existed in 1860.

"No spitting, swearing, sliding or cussing. And the only person who can have any indulgent alcohol is the 'blind tom' -- he can have a flask on the field," explained Houston Babies manager Bob Dorrill.

The "blind tom" is the umpire. He wears a top hat and can ask for the crowd's help on a close call.

If the ball bounces once and it's caught, you're out. If you overrun first base, you can be tagged out. And if you score...

"He must ask the blind tom for permission to ring the bell, to score before it counts, otherwise the tally does not count," Dorrill said.

The Babies trace their roots way back to the 1888. They were the first professional baseball team in Houston. This team formed five years ago, reviving that tradition, for the camaraderie, if nothing else.

"They love the game," said Houston Babies general manager Dr. Bill McCurdy. "They want to keep it alive!"

But it's also so much about the history and not letting the game evolve without recognition of how far it's come.

"An old guy told me a long time ago, before you know where you're going, you got to know where you been," said player "Longball" Miggins.

The team's general manager is writing a book about their history. The Houston Babies are hoping to expand their league in the near future. They have a tournament coming up at the George Ranch in Fort Bend County on July 4th if you want to see them in action.


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