Knoxville’s two vintage base ball teams, the Holstons and Emmett Machinists, will play a base ball match by the rules and customs of 1864 at noon, Saturday, May 19, 2018, at historic Ramsey House, 2614 Thorngrove Pike. Admission to this historic, family-friendly event is free.


Vintage base ball (spelled as two words in the mid-19th century) allows spectators to experience the national pastime as it was first played in Knoxville. Ballists (or players) from the Holstons and Emmett Machinists re-create two of the city’s first base ball teams, playing nine innings in period uniforms. Back then, the game was played without gloves, and the ball could be caught after one bound for an out. It was also a community affair, allowing spectators to witness the antics and heroic feats of their townsmen. “We invite everyone to load the family into the ‘wagon,’ head out to the field behind Ramsey House, and relive this 150-year-old Knoxville tradition,” says Lynn “Hawkeye” Bates, captain of the Holstons.


To make the trip back to 1864 as pleasant as possible, fans are encouraged to bring a blanket or chair and grab a spot in the field to witness the match. Also, be ready to cheer on and interact with the ballists! “At its core, vintage base ball is about education,” adds Bill “Colonel” White, captain of the Emmett Machinists. “We endeavor to involve the crowd in the matches, making sure everyone’s afternoon outing is historic and fun.” Sportsmanship is a key tenet of the matches, as well.


Ramsey House asks that outside food/drink not be brought to the matches. Concessions will be available, the sales of which support the preservation of Ramsey House.


The Knoxville Holstons Vintage Base Ball Club and the Emmett Machinists Base Ball Club of Knoxville are members of the Tennessee Association of Vintage Base Ball (TAOVBB) which, since its inaugural season in 2013, has grown to include 12 vintage base ball clubs in Nashville, Knoxville, and Chattanooga. As revived iterations of Tennessee’s historic base ball teams, TAOVBB member clubs combine living history with sport, organizing barehanded, Civil War-era base ball games to educate and entertain their communities. All regular season matches of the TAOVBB are free and open to the public. The TAOVBB is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit educational organization supported by donations and organized by dedicated volunteers. For more information and the complete 2018 TAOVBB schedule, please visit