Craig Lammers has always been interested in history and baseball.
"I just combined the two," he said.
Lammers, 51, a 1976 graduate of Lake High School, has written biographies on several 19th and 20th Century baseball players, including Jim Hughey, the last major league pitcher to lose 30 games in a season, in 1899.
"He pitched for the Cleveland Spiders," Lammers said.
BCSN broadcaster Greg Franke, who has known Lammers for nearly 30 years, said, "If there is a better baseball researcher anywhere in this country than him, you'd have to show me. He is one of the great authorities on baseball research and history anywhere in this country. That's not an exaggeration. I think people ought to know about him."
Lammers has lived in Bowling Green for more than 20 years. Many people may know him as a deejay and country and bluegrass director at Bowling Green State University's radio station, WBGU 88.1. He graduated from BGSU in 1982.
"I play the traditional country music you would have heard in the 1940s and 1950s," Lammers said. "I've been doing that since early 1980s. We have a lot of community members who do shows. I was probably one of the first of those. I like exposing people to music they haven't heard. I can play anything I feel like playing, being a non-commercial station. That gives us creative freedom, playing the artists we believe in as opposed to what's the most popular."
Lammers grew up rooting for the St. Louis Cardinals and Baltimore Orioles - "Those were the teams that were in the World Series when I first started following baseball" - and he has an autographed photo of Hall of Fame Cardinals pitcher Bob Gibson.
"He collects autographs and he has autographs of some of the great stars like Wade Boggs, Tony Gwynn and Cal Ripken when they were minor-leaguers," Franke said. "He's very interested in lower minor league baseball. The baseball research started about seven or eight years ago. He started saying, 'Hey, I'd like to go to a library in some small town in Ohio or Lansing or Cleveland and research minor league baseball.'
"I ended up taking him on a lot of those trips. We spent many, many hours driving around various places."
Lammers is a member of the Roger Bresnahan/Toledo Mud Hens chapter of the Society for American Baseball Research (SABR), a national organization.
"We do a lot of writing and research about baseball," he said. "We have a 19th Century committee which relates to Vintage Base Ball, we write about the dead ball era from 1901-1919, and we have the Baseball Biography Project, where you write article-length biographies on any baseball person you want to. The goal is to write about most people who have played major league baseball."
Lammers has written baseball biographies on Wood County natives Leander "Dan" Abbott and William Wright. Abbott was from the Weston area and Wright was from Tontogany.
"Abbott pitched for Toledo in 1890, when they were Black Pirates in the American Association," Lammers said. "The American Association was considered a major league from 1882-91. Wright pitched briefly for Cleveland in 1909.
"I've looked into minor league teams from Tiffin, Fremont, Fostoria and Findlay, which all had teams prior to World War II. I started looking at earlier eras of baseball history and started writing about people from Northwest Ohio and people from other eras."
Franke, who lives in Portage, Ohio, said he met Lammers when they worked together at WBGU in the fall of 1982. Both young men were interested in sports history, so they hit it off immediately.
"I noticed right away that of all the people on that staff, he was the most well-versed in sports, before he became the baseball historian," Franke said. "He knew his sports history. He was a walking encyclopedia. He's just a very well-rounded guy.
"He knows a lot about country music, the growth of American culture in the early 20th Century. He can tell you anything about the Civil War, the American West and the Frontier period and as history goes in general. We're always trying to find a way to get him on Jeopardy."
Because of his love of baseball and baseball history, it was probably only natural that Lammers would start his own Vintage Base Ball team. Lammers is the manager of the North Baltimore Cyclones, a first-year team that includes Franke and Eastwood graduate Aaron Walston.
Vintage Base Ball (it was spelled two words prior to the 1880s) is played by the rules and customs of the 19th Century. The players wear period reproduction uniforms, either with long trousers and shield shirt, or a later style lace shirt and knickers. They recreate the game based on rules and research of the various decades of the mid-to-late 19th Century.
Other local Vintage Base Ball teams are located in Sylvania, Fremont and Carey.
"We're struggling a little to find games, being our first year," Lammers said. "Our first game was in May and we had a couple games in August. Most teams around here play a variation of 1860s rules, which is what we do.
"We want to play the game as it was actually played and not necessarily as the rules were written in those days. I had played previously and thought I could do a better job than my prevous team in terms of running my own team and educating on baseball history. I thought I would go for it."