“Crooked Arm” Brancato brings 19th Century base ball to the Game at the Corners

“Crooked Arm” Brancato brings 19th Century base ball to the Game at the Corners

Martin Brancato Jr. from “Great day for an old-time ball game” [Photo: Tom Rivers, Orleans Hub]

Two Sundays ago, “No Glove” Brancato walked through the cornfields behind the outfield onto our Field of Dreams behind the Brighton High School (also known as the Game at the Corners  FULL SERIES AT END)


Marty on 19th century mound at the Game at the Corners see First Girls of Summer at the Game at the Corners 8/7/16


Crooked Arm pitching barehanded in the 8/21/16 Game at the Corners [Photo: Anthony]

We called the stranger No Glove because he didn’t have his left handed glove with him. So No Glove pitched barehanded — and well. Turns out No Glove — aka Crooked Arm — is used to pitching barehanded. Crooked Arm is a member of the Live Oak Base Ball Club of Rochester who play 19th Century base ball.

Marty describing 1868 plate in the dugout during the downpour. 8/21/16

As described by Marty below, the exciting news is that on Sunday August 21st on the ball field behind the Brighton High School (right around the corner from the Brighton Farmers Market) Marty will be bringing his 19th century equipment for a demonstration and a game at 11 am following the softball game.


Marty pounding in the base. In ’68 bases were filled with straw, although today the Live Oak’s fudge it a bit by adding carpet. 8/21/16

Marty will be there around 9 am to display and describe the equipment, including setting up fair and foul lines using flour! After the softball game, at around 11, we’ll take batting and fielding practice and play a mini-game. ALL ARE INVITED TO WATCH AND PLAY.


Swinging in the rain. Glove Kramer facing No Glove Brancato. Joe behind the plate. [Photo: Anthony] 8/21/16

UPDATE: The demonstration was cancelled due to a thunderstorm. Crooked Arm did pitch in the softball game, barehanded as usual. Crooked mentioned that we play gentlemanly, just as in the spirit of base ball in ’68. The game itself ended anticlimactically with the home team trailing — but rallying — in the bottom of the 6th. But the climate changed abruptly and the thunderstorm forced the calling of the game.

From Crooked Arm:


see First Girls of Summer at the Game at the Corners


No Glove Brancato and Glove Kramer at the Brighton Farmers Market 8/7/16 [Photo by Nancy Gingold. Nancy has taken many of the photos for the Game at the Corners series

Two Sundays ago, Kathy and I went to the Brighton Farmers Market. We  got there early because she wanted to get first crack at all the fruits and veggies and I wanted to get my favorite pot pit from the Queen of Pot Pies. The weather was gorgeous; the tomatoes were perfect; and we got the last panang pie. Then a ball game found me.

We were walking across the athletic fields on our way to an ATM because, well, we splurged a bit. There’s a lot of really great stuff at the Brighton Farmers Market.

Suddenly a softball comes sailing over the fence that I ran over to fetch. I threw the ball to someone on the other side of the fence who not only appreciated the gesture, he invited me to play. I declined. Don’t get me wrong. I love to play base ball (two words), softball, softball, whiffle ball, and darn near any other kind of game.


game in Greece, NY 5/14/16 [Photo: Douglas Worboys]

I also love Kathy and this was one of those rare days when both of us had the day off. So I wanted to continue shopping with her at the market. But Kathy — knowing I love to play — was fine with me going off to join everybody for softball. “You might make some new friends and you can talk about your old timey base ball.” So, when the shopping was done, off I went. Woo Hoo!


game in Greece, NY 5/14/16

I’m glad I played softball with everybody. It turns out that there’s a pick-up game every Sunday behind the Brighton High School.

I also recognized a player from several parties hosted by a mutual friend. Norm and I got to talking a bit after the game with a couple of other players and he remembered that I play 19th century Base Ball at Genesee Country Village and Museum in Mumford.

Baseball was spelled as two words back then. We play by the rules used in 1868. Three strikes and you’re out. Three balls and you walk. A foul ball caught on one bound is an out. The hurler (pitcher) throws underhand and must pitch from between two lines that are four feet apart, six feet in length, and the front line is 45 feet from home plate. We wear 19th century style uniforms and we don’t wear gloves. Gloves weren’t invented yet! The game in 1868 is a bit different from the game in 2016.


from “Great day for an old-time ball game” [Photo: Tom Rivers, Orleans Hub]

Now, I admit, I did talk pretty fast when I was telling the fellas about base ball and the tournament because I get excited about base ball. So I don’t know if they understood everything I said. Fortunately, I type slower than I talk so that’ll make it easier for me to be understood. At the very least, my enthusiasm did seem to rub off a little and I was asked to come back for a full demonstration with authentic equipment.  So Sunday, August 21st, we’re going to play softball and 1868 base ball. Come out and play with us! It’s amazing what’ll happen when a ball game finds you.

see photo montage by Douglass Worboys, a friend of the Greece Historical Society 

see Tom River’s story and photos from the Orleans Hub.


Pick up softball games still exist

The Boys of Summer are back at The Corners

Ball in creek disrupts Game at the Corners; Blake hits for the cycle

Casper scores the winning run at The Corners

Umpire added to Game at the Corners. Players subtracted

Who’s counting at the Game at the Corners

Celebrating the Fourth of July at the Game at the Corners. And much more.

First Girls of Summer at the Game at the Corners; Talker wins it with three run walk off homerun

Farewell Boys and Girls of Summer! Under-40 MVP smashes 5 home runs off Over-40 MVP in Sunday finale

About The Author


Welcome to Talker of the Town! My name is David Kramer. I have a Ph.D in English and teach at Keuka College. I am a former and still active Fellow at the Nazareth College Center for Public History and a Storyteller in Residence at the SmallMatters Institute. Over the years, I have taught at Monroe Community College, the Rochester Institute of Technology and St. John Fisher College. I have published numerous Guest Essays, Letters, Book Reviews and Opinion pieces in The New York Times, Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, the Buffalo News, the Rochester Patriot, the Providence Journal, the Providence Business News, the Brown Alumni Magazine, the New London Day, the Boston Herald, the Messenger Post Newspapers, the Wedge, the Empty Closet, the CITY, Lake Affect Magazine and Brighton Connections. My poetry appears in The Criterion: An International Journal in English and Rundenalia and my academic writing in War, Literature and the Arts and Twentieth Century Literary Criticism. Starting in February 2013, I wrote for three Democratic and Chronicle  blogs, "Make City Schools Better," "Unite Rochester," and the "Editorial Board." When my tenure at the D & C  ended, I wanted to continue conversations first begun there. And start new ones.  So we created this new space, Talker of the Town, where all are invited to join. I don’t like to say these posts are “mine.” Very few of them are the sole product of my sometimes overheated imagination. Instead, I call them partnerships and collaborations. Or as they say in education, “peer group work.” Talker of the Town might better be Talkers of the Town. The blog won’t thrive without your leads, text, pictures, ideas, facebook shares, tweets, comments and criticisms.


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