by Joe Wills
Chico State dates back to the 19th century, as does the national pastime. It was only fitting, then, that in celebration of the University’s 125th anniversary, an old-time ball game was played on a beautiful autumn day on the Chico campus. Dressed in vintage caps and sporting dubious mustaches, a ragtag assemblage of Chico State employees and parents lined up following the Family Weekend Barbecue against a faster and fitter squad of current students.
President Paul Zingg, a baseball historian, explained the rules of this precursor to today’s game called “town ball.” No gloves are allowed, and stakes replace bases. “Strikers” make an out if their “knock” is caught on the fly or they are “plugged” by the ball—thankfully softer than a modern-day hardball—while running stake to stake.
After five high-spirited innings, the older folk, sore shoulders and knees all around, managed to come out on top, 5-4. President Zingg, clad in a stovepipe hat and bow tie, umpired the game and provided tips on how to behave like it was 1887. We tried hard not to smile for the camera—not very 19th century!—and keep our mustaches on.
I just wish I could’ve gotten a hit…
(BA, Recreation Administration, ’82), a former firefighter/EMT, is an insurance agent with New York Life in San Diego.
(BA, Journalism, ’01) is a partner at FSB Core Strategies, a public relations firm in Sacramento.
(MA, Kinesiology, ’06) is the head athletic trainer at Cuesta College in San Luis Obispo.