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New York Mutuals Base Ball Club

Gavin Marlborough practices his swing with a solid wood bat. Photo by Mallie Kim

By Mallie Jane Kim

Fans of America’s “old ball game” watched a historical treat in Setauket Saturday, Sept. 16, when the New York Mutuals faced off against the Brooklyn Atlantics on the back field of Sherwood-Jayne Farm using 19th century-era baseball rules.

The two hobby teams from all over Long Island and beyond, hosted at Sherwood-Jayne by Preservation Long Island and The Long Island Museum, represented real baseball teams from the 1800s and played using replica uniforms and equipment. That means swinging heavy wooden bats and catching baseballs with no gloves.

The event was part of Preservation Long Island’s efforts to connect with the community and allow neighbors to engage with one of their historical properties, alongside their local partner organization, The Long Island Museum in Stony Brook.

Two historical baseball teams face off in the upper field of Sherwood-Jayne Farm.
Photo by Mallie Kim

Elizabeth Abrams, PLI’s assistant director for operations and programs, said the event was a success. “We got a lot of folks who’ve never been here before,” she said. “It is great that we’re exposing our organizations to new people.”

Abrams said it was important to PLI, which is a small nonprofit based in Cold Spring Harbor, to make the event open to as many people as possible, and their partnership with LIM as well as some in-kind donations allowed them to offer the event free of charge.

“When we have the ability to put on a larger event, we want to make it as open and accessible as possible for the community that we’re in,” she added.

Among the approximately 240 guests at the event, John and Rebecca Wygand of Shoreham brought their four children to enjoy the game. “A little history for the kids,” Rebecca said, adding, “We’re baseball fans, you know.”

The Wygands said they were supporting both teams, impressed that the players were working so hard and without gloves — jamming fingers is an occupational hazard — and in the case of one player, without shoes.

But Rebecca Wygand balked when her husband suggested they also support both present-day New York teams, the Mets and the Yankees. “No, just Yankees,” she said. “You can keep the Mets for yourself. No thank you.”

The Wygand family enjoys the baseball game at Sherwood-Jayne Farm on Saturday, Sept. 16. Photo by Mallie Kim

In the end, a tie between the Mutuals and Atlantics pushed the game into the 10th inning, with the Atlantics taking the win, 12-11.

At a display with historical baseball artifacts near the field, visitors could hold old baseballs and try out a real wooden bat. Gavin Marlborough, 7, a Nassakeag Elementary School student who plays on the Three Village intramural baseball league, enjoyed watching the game.

“I like to watch old-fashioned baseball,” he said, noting the jerseys were very different from those used today — they look like white bibs buttoned on to white shirts.

For his own future, though, Gavin said he prefers modern baseball. The wooden bat, he said, is “too heavy.”

On the main lawn next to the house, live music provided a backdrop for visitors enjoying food, drinks, tavern-style iron puzzles and a bounce house for children.

The Sherwood-Jayne Farm House is currently open on Saturdays for docent-led tours, and the grounds are open year round from dawn until dusk for “hikers, joggers, bird-watchers and nature lovers,” according to the PLI website.

Photo from LIM

It’s time to play ball! Preservation Long Island and the Long Island Museum have teamed up to host Baseball on the Farm featuring an authentic 19th-century ballgame with the New York Mutual Base Ball Club against the Atlantics.  With live music, games, prizes, food and more, this one-day special event will take place on the grounds of historic Sherwood-Jayne Farm, 55 Old Post Road in East Setauket on Saturday, Sept. 16 from noon to 4 p.m. Rain date is Sept, 17.

Baseball on the Farm is a FREE community event for the whole family featuring an authentic 19th-century ballgame pitting the New York Mutuals Base Ball Club against the Atlantics Base Ball Club, games and craft activities, prizes including Long Island Ducks signed baseball and 4-pack of tickets for 2024, bounce house, live music by The Other Two and food and beverages (available for purchase) from Exotic Bowls, Maui Chop House and Root + Branch Brewing.

Advance registration is recommended. For more information and to reserve tickets visit: https://preservationlongisland.org/baseball-on-the-farm/

This special day of vintage baseball at Preservation Long Island’s Sherwood-Jayne Farm in Setauket is a collaboration inspired by two exhibitions currently on view at The Long Island Museum in nearby Stony Brook:

Picturing America’s Pastime (May 18-October 15, 2023): Since the 19th century, baseball and photography have grown up together.  This exhibition of 51 historic photographs has been developed by the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museums, the world’s premiere repository of baseball photographs.

Home Fields: Baseball Stadiums of Long Island and New York City (May 18-October 15, 2023): This exhibition features exciting objects from several private collectors of historic baseball memorabilia.  Many original items from Ebbetts Field (the home of the Brooklyn Dodgers) Polo Stadium, and Yankee Stadium are on view.