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Elmer, Missouri - Early History
It happened at the 1913 Old Settlers Reunion in Elmer
A Quaint Missouri Community and Their Peculiar Baseball Rules. How a Strict Interpretation of These Rules Won the Most Extraordinary Game in the Records. Written by Edgar White around 1913.
Toward the close of the summer, an Old Settlers' Reunion was held at Elmer, in northwest Macon County, Missouri, and on "big Thursday" a game of baseball was played between the Elmer and Atlanta teams, under the "Goldsberry Rules." Goldsberry is a village back in the interior, where the people do everything in their own way. Most of them rest up on Saturday, because the Seventh Day Adventists there regard it as the Sabbath. According to Goldsberry's baseball code, when a batter hits the ball he can keep on running till the fielders find it, no matter if it goes into the next county, and every time he gets around the batter scores. Sometimes a fellow makes three runs off one hit.
Sam Griffith was captain of the Elmer Club on the big day of the reunion. Last Christmas Sam's friends gave him a pedometer, and he's keeping tab on how many miles he walks in 1913. His machine now registers 3,150 miles, and is busy every day.
There were 5,000 people at the reunion on the big day, which is some crowd in the country. The Atlanta Goliaths had played their ninth inning, and scored 50. The Elmer Invincibles were on their ninth inning, with a score of 25. Two men were out and—no, you guessed wrong; there wasn't anybody on the bases. And Sam Griffith, the pedometer man, walked to the bat. Everybody knew the jig was up, and those who had bet on Elmer had begun paying up. They didn't know what a resourceful man Pedometer Sam was.
Over on the edge of the left field, just above the ravine, was the Elmer brass band, waiting to hit up a tune when the game was over. The basedrummer had laid his big noise maker on the ground until time for him to perform. Sam squinted at the drum and took careful aim as the ball came hurtling toward him.
The sphere hit the bull's-eye fair and square, bursting through the cover and lodging in the drum, which started down the ravine, the fielders hard on its heels. For a while it was an even race, and then the fielders began to gain, and would have eventually caught up with it but the fool drum found an old abandoned coal shaft, half full of water, and took a notion to go swimming. By the time the fielders got the ball and fired it to the pitcher Sam had scored 26½ runs and the Elmer crowd was carrying him about on their shoulders.
The base drummer sued for damage to his sounding tool, and the man who owned the land where the old mine was put in a claim for his share of the prize money. When Sam looked at his pedometer he found that he had run nearly two miles to win the game. The Goldsberry Rules are now copyrighted.