Players wanted: Union Base Ball Club of Dexter is a throw-back to the game’s infancy

The Union Base Ball Club of Dexter is looking to add some members to their club for the upcoming 2020 season.

They play historic base ball (yes, two words) for the love of the game, using the rules of the 1860’s when baseball was in its infancy.

“We are a community based club, so we do not hold tryouts and we are not trying to assemble an ‘all-star’ team,” says organizer Donovan Hill.  “Our season runs from May through the beginning of September playing one game almost every weekend during that time.  Although games are competitive, in the end it is about playing for the fun of the game and the camaraderie, not about the final score.  Since we do not hold tryouts, we simply ask that those who are interested come out to a couple practices to get a feel for the speed and nature of the game.”

Historic base ball has spread in popularity throughout southeast Michigan and now has over 20 clubs within an hour drive of Washtenaw County.

“Our club was started in 2012 and most of the men on the club have been participating for at least five years,” says Hill.  “We have men ranging in age from their late 20’s to their 60’s representing all different skill levels.  With our club, anyone that shows up for a game gets to play, we do not just play the nine best players on the team.  Although our club is based in Dexter, we also have players living in Fowlerville, Brighton, Saline and Pinckney,”

The teams plays by the rules of the 1860’s which means they wear period appropriate uniforms and observe the civil war era rules as much as possible.  One of the biggest differences you will see is that they do not use gloves of any sort.  The ball is also slightly bigger and a little bit softer than a modern ball.  They use only wood bats and play on completely grass fields, no dirt infields in 1860.  Visually, the game is still very similar to what is played today, with only minor differences between the rules.

“At a time when many sports are being delayed or even cancelled, we are staying optimistic that we will be able to play our season this summer,” Hill says.  “We look forward to being able to provide an outlet for our sports-starved community, for both participating and spectating.”

If you are interested in finding out more, contact Donovan Hill at

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