If someone walks into Orchard Park on a Saturday in northeast Hutchinson, they might see something they are not used to.
A baseball game sounds common, but not just any baseball game. They would be watching the Hutchinson Vintage Base Ball Club.
The HVBC is a replica baseball team in the Vintage Baseball Association. The Base Ball Club is an 1877 replica baseball team that plays with classic rules and old-time equipment. They take pride in playing modern baseball but with a 160-year-old twist. The league was founded in 1996. Some adjustments this league makes include, no gloves, old-fashioned uniforms, and oversized bats.
Team founder Steve “Doc” Miller takes pride in the league and enjoys all the time he gets with this game style. He founded the league right before this current season.
“The team consists of two teams, the Salt Packers and the Prairie Dogs.” Miller said. “Before the VBBA was founded, there were numerous teams that played exhibition games on historic sights.”
One of the main historic sites they play at is the Old Cowtown Museum in Wichita.
There have not been struggles getting guys to play as Miller has been surprised with how many vintage baseball fans there are.
“There are many modern-day vintage baseball players that enjoy the history of the game,” Miller said. “We attempt to accurately replay what it would have looked like back then.”
There has been immense growth from when the league was founded to now. There are more than 400 teams across the country. Kansas is known as a hotspot for teams like this. There are six teams in Kansas.
Miller founded the Hutchinson team to bring something to his community. He wanted to combine his two loves – baseball and social recreation.
“I fondly remember spending summer evenings at softball diamonds watching my dad and his friends play,” Miller said. “I think that our society has lost that traditional team sport culture for adults.”
While not bad, he thinks that all the focus is on the kids and wants to bring some competitive fun for adults.
“I love having the friends and families of players sit on the sideline just enjoying the game,” Miller said.
Although the 2023 season wraps up Saturday in Humboldt, fans can keep up with the club on Facebook and perhaps take in a game next season.