ROOTING FOR THE OLD HOME TEAM
Although football dominates the Texas sports scene today, the quarterback wasn’t always king. Early in the state’s sports history, baseball ruled. The Houston Base Ball Club was formed in 1861, disrupted however by the Civil War, but by 1868 games were being reported on by the Houston Post. Enthusiasm for the game soon spread to communities across the state as well as the line of frontier forts along the state’s outer edges where soldiers, including those stationed at San Angelo’s Fort Concho, took up the sport.
Today, the historic fort hosts vintage games organized by all-volunteer clubs that compete in authentic uniforms, gear, and the late 19th century rule book. By the 1880s "base" and "ball" had merged, and Houston had its own winning team—the Houston Babies, modified in 1907 to the Houston Buffalos. The Texas League was dominated by the Fort Worth Panthers by the 1920s, but most of the state’s early baseball teams have long been eclipsed by the rise of the Houston Astros and, of course, the Texas Rangers.
Vintage baseball continues to be played around the state, its spirit of friendly and polite sportsmanship perhaps the most valued aspect of an earlier era. Commentators provide entertaining facts on the 1860 rules and customs while handouts list the period lingo for the crowd to participate. Root for one of the home teams around the state such as the Rockwall Retros, Farmer’s Branch Mustangs, Boerne White Sox, Buffalo Gap Chips, and Montgomery College Saw Dogs.