Drawing their name and inspiration from the original St. Louis team that included a young player named Cy Young, the St. Louis Perfectos bring the past alive in matches that are free to the public. Join them, along with The Greater St. Louis Base Ball Historical Society, as they host a fun-filled festival on the first weekend in June in conjunction with the Lafayette Square Spring Home & Garden Tour.
Volunteer players, dressed in authentic uniforms and using a hand-stitched base ball, play strictly by 1860’s rules. Catches are made barehanded. A bell at home plate is rung each time a runner scores. You’ll hear language from days gone by, such as “Well hit, sir!” at the crack of the bat, and “Leg it! Leg it!” as runners round the bases. And of course, “Huzzah!” – The equivalent of our modern-day “hoorah!”
Spectators, called “cranks” in 1860-vernacular, enjoy player introductions at the beginning of each game. Keeping with tradition, each player has his or her own nickname. With a tip of the cap, you’ll meet Licorice Whip, Sting, Crazy Legs, Tree Knocker, Cowgirl, Home Run, Doc, Moose, and Five-Finger, to name a few.
The festival is named in honor of St. Louis native Judge Shepard Barclay, an avid sports enthusiast and skilled pitcher who played in local amateur clubs in the 1860’s. Quoted inThe Spirit of St. Louis – A History of the St. Louis Cardinals and Browns, Barclay recalls Lafayette Park as the locale where St. Louis youngsters first learned “the modern game of base ball.”
The Perfectos, and their rival teams from Missouri and beyond, capture the spirit of a wonderful era in vintage base ball (as it was spelled and played in the 1860’s). Teams that have participated in the festival in previous years include the St. Louis Unions, the 1869 Cincinnati Red Stockings, the Indianapolis Blues, the Rock Springs Ground Squirrels, and the Mackville Mudcats.