Wichita — The past met the present on a recent Sunday afternoon at Lawrence-Dumont Stadium, with hopes of also being able to provide some recreational relief to American servicemen and women.
The Old Cowtown Museum Vintage Base Ball Club took to the field following the Wichita Wingnuts game for an exhibition game between the Wichita Red Stockings and the Wichita Bull Dozers.
Working in conjunction with the Wingnuts, the organization also is accepting donations of baseball equipment.
The equipment will be shipped to one of the club's players, a Kansas Air National Guard member deployed in the Middle East.
Gary Lee, one of the event's coordinators, said the idea of donating equipment came from his deployed teammate.
"It's for him and the others there," Lee said. "But he would also like to teach the local kids how to play."
"It's a way to connect with the people over there," fellow Bull Dozer Todd Hough added.
Hough also said baseball provides service members a way of connecting with home.
"There's no piece of home for them there," he said.
Lee said the Old Cowtown Museum Vintage Base Ball Club plays about 20 games a year, many against other vintage teams from across the country.
The teams adhere to baseball rules from the 1860s, which means no gloves, underhand pitching and period-style uniforms.
The group will hold another exhibition Aug. 9 at Old Cowtown Museum and will continue its equipment drive.
Lee said monetary donations also are being accepted and that the group hopes to ship the equipment by Labor Day.
Galen Crippen, who announced Sunday's exhibition, said he saw the event as a way of showing gratitude for the service of others.
"Our soldiers need all the support from home they can get, and what better way than sending them equipment from our national pastime?" he said.