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photo Stephanie Kopcik

of our players even works there now.” At Levante’s “Kegs and Eggs” event in February, the team shows up in uniform to fundraise. They travel for games to places including Gettysburg and Pea Patch Island in Delaware. The team car pools to events that are an hour or two away, but flies to more distant locations, such as their upcoming trip to Wisconsin. “We’ll fly out there and all stay in a couple of rooms,” he says. “We’ll play all weekend long at the festival, which is maybe five games in three days.” For home games, the team plays at East Goshen Park. “We’re a pretty healthy club in terms of roster and budget right now,” says Stratton. “What we’re really looking for is a following and a fan base. We need more spectators.” He notes, somewhat enviously, that one of the teams that comes to East Goshen travels from six hours away, and they bring a whole crowd with them. “They have 50 or so people who travel around to see them play base ball.”

BRINGING IT HOME “We're all so frightened by time, the way it moves on and the way things disappear. That's why we're photographers. We're preservationists by nature,” opines Ed Harris’ in Kodachrome. “We take pictures to stop time, to commit moments to eternity. Human nature made tangible.” Just as Kodachrome isn’t about a product, the story of the Brandywine Vintage Base Ball Club isn’t really about a sport; it’s about people. “It’s always great to see a father and son on the team,” muses Stratton. “My goal is to play long enough that I can play with my son. It’s about preserving history and passing it down. And also teaching them about how it used to be.” Stratton’s son, now five, isn’t quite ready for the big leagues with Dad yet, although he participated in tee ball last year. One of Stratton’s base ball moments committed to memory happened during a game the team played in Reading, at a little league field where vintage teams are sometimes invited. “They asked us to play there one weekend, and they had brought in a former major leaguer to play with us.”

Bill “Spaceman” Lee, a left-handed pitcher who played for the Boston Red Sox and the Montreal Expos from the 1970s through the early 1980s, was quite a character back when he was known for his counterculture viewpoints as well as his baseball prowess. “It was fun to be out there with someone who appreciates the history of the game,” Stratton remembers. “Being on the field with him was pretty neat.” Prowler’s Steve McCardell recalls a special moment back when he was just starting out with bat making and playing in the West Chester adult league. “My brother hit a home run with one of my bats, which at that time was a really bad baseball bat, because I was just starting out and didn’t know anything. But he hit a home run with something I had made. I still have that bat hanging up in my garage.” Memories such as these will play out again as future generations find their own place on the field, not matter what form that field takes. Games are free to attend. Check out Brandywine Vintage Base Ball Club’s schedule on their website: brandywinebbc.org

NOVEMBER 2019 THEWCPRESS.COM

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Profile for The WC Press

The WC Press Vintage Issue - November 2019  

Voice of the Borough

The WC Press Vintage Issue - November 2019  

Voice of the Borough