​Vintage baseball teams recreate America's pastime

OLD ORCHARD BEACH, Maine -- The pitching is underhand. A ball caught on a bounce is still an out. And even on a steaming hot day, the players' uniforms are mostly made of wool.

It is vintage baseball -- the game as it was played in the 1860s when baseball gloves hadn't yet been invented and the game had a language all its own.

"Striker to the line" means "batter up." The "pitcher" is the "hurler" and the "hitter" is the "striker." And instead of being "out," the player is "dead."

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The Dirigo Base Ball Club CBS News

First baseman Jacob Newcomb is president of the Dirigo team.

"It's more about having fun than winning, even though we have competitive games," said Newcomb.

Just like the old days no one smiles for the team photo and they all have nicknames, like Red, Shoeless, Irish and Lefty.

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Steve McComber CBS News

Steve McComber is the Babe. Before he lost weight, he says, he looked a bit like Babe Ruth. He's been playing for Mudville for ten years. He hopes to stay at it as long as he can.

"I'm going to do a couple knee replacements later this year so that hopefully will get another ten years out of me," said McComber.

A version of baseball was first played in the 1840s but it took war to spread it around the country, according to first baseman and retired Navy Commander John Coray.

"The sport really emerged in the 1860s, became a favorite of the soldiers both Union and Confederate during the periods of downtime during the war," said Coray. "Once the war ended, they went all back to their homes across the nation and brought the sport with them and it exploded after 1865."

Today there are more than 130 teams playing vintage baseball across the nation.

  • Chip Reid

    Chip Reid is CBS News' national correspondent.