Annual vintage ball game at ranch Sept. 2

       In hosting the Labor Day vintage “base ball” game, the Rock Ledge Ranch Historic Site has highlighted in recent years a homerun-hitting Abe Lincoln, an escaped convict, cow and sheep on the field and even women players.

Samples of baseball cards from some participants in the annual Rock Ledge Ranch Labor Day game who also play in a Denver-area vintage league.
Courtesy of individuals named on cards

       Ranch manager Andy Morris - who also captains Rock Ledge's Cloud Busters team - would not reveal his strategies for this year's contest (Monday, Sept. 2). “I'm not sure what we have cooked up,” he said, then added, in the secretive tone he saves for the Big Game, “I certainly wouldn't want the local press to get wind of it, at any rate.”
       Played by rules from the 1800s - including underhand pitching, fielders without gloves and “cranks” (spectators) allowed to catch balls and throw them to fielders for outs - the game will start on the Rock Ledge hayfield at 1 p.m.
       For the day, the ranch will be open from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. The public is welcome to bring picnic lunches. Admission will be $8 for adults, $4 for ages 6 to 17 and free to ages 5 and under.
       The city-owned historic site is styled after the 1880s, and Morris stressed that he is preparing his team by the hard-working, self-sacrificing standards of that era… though he has (as usual) doubts that the opposing team - players from questionable parts of Denver who are well-practiced after competing in a summer vintage league - will be as clean-cut. “I want the good folks of Colorado Springs and Old Colorado City to know the boys and I have been in constant training - many of us surviving on nothing but food and water for the last 10 days (no spirited beverages) - and intend to put on a good match against the reprobates, er… ballists from the Denver & Rio Grande Reds,” he said. “We ask that the cranks show up at Rock Ledge Ranch in droves on Labor Day to support their local Camp Creek Cloud Busters team. We will put everything we have into the contest and I will guarantee a victory for the home club.”
       Asked what he would do if the opposite occured, Morris' terse reply was, “Perish the thought.”
       The teams have split the past two years, with last year's game a surprisingly low-scoring 2-1 affair, eked out by the Cloud Busters.

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