Mont Vernon recognizes baseball founder

MONT VERNON – On the last Saturday in September each year, Mont Vernon throws a big party to celebrate its heritage at the town-owned Lamson Farm.

This year, under blue skies, children rode ponies and admired farm animals, people packed into hay rides, firefighters barbecued hundreds of pieces of chicken and the PTA sold home-made caramel apples.

And this year, something new was added – a baseball game was played as it would have been played in 1860, on the big field that stretches down from Lamson’s farmhouse and barn.

The Providence Grays and the New Hampshire Granite vintage baseball teams played two games, using mid-19th century rules and customs and wearing reproduction uniform.

The game celebrated Mont Vernon native Daniel “Doc” Adams, one of the founders of baseball.

Later that day, signs were installed on Route 13 recognizing the town as Adam’s birthplace.

Adams was among the young professionals who loved “base ball” as it was called then. He joined the New York Base Ball Club in 1840 and became a member of the famed Knickerbocker Base Ball Club in 1845.

This was at a time when the sport was so insignificant that no one manufactured baseballs or bats, so “Doc” Adams made his own balls and supervised a furniture maker who produced bats for the team.

Adams is credited with establishing the base paths at 90 feet, the length of the game at nine innings and the size of a team at nine players. He was also the creator and first player of the shortstop position, and in 1857 he wrote “The Laws of Base Ball,” which in 2016, sold at auction for $3.26 million.

The road sign is the first permanent recognition of Doc Adams, and there are efforts to have him accepted into the Baseball Hall of Fame, said Zoe Fimbel, longtime organizer of Lamson Farm Day and the local leader of efforts to have Adams recognized as a founder of baseball.

She and Collin Miller, a member of New Hampshire Granite, raised the money for signs by selling commemorative bats and raised it in two days. Now there are signs on both ends of Main Street.

And Lamson Farm Day was also a huge success, and they sold out of the barbecue chicken.

“It all came together this weekend, and it was awesome,” Fimbel said.

Kathy Cleveland can be reached at 673-3100 or kcleveland@cabinet.com.