ric Miklich has been a 19th century base ball player since 1998, fielding all positions and playing in more than 450 19th century games. He is a pitcher on one of the most prestigious 19th century clubs in the United States, the Mutual Club of New York. The Mutuals participate in competitions throughout the US and are also hired to demonstrate 19th century base ball at various summer events. In 2002, the club initiated a nine city/ten day "Barnstorming Tour", competing in matches with other19th century clubs from Hannibal, Missouri to The Boston Commons in the city of Boston. The Mutuals are also extremely active in promoting the 19th century game and put on exhibitions at many events in the tri-state area during the summer. The Philadelphia Enquirer, The Boston Globe, The New York Times, The Washington Times, New York Newsday, Newsday (Long island edition) and The Hannibal Courier-Post have featured the Mutuals.
Eric Miklich is currently a Volunteer 19th Century Base Ball Coordinator for the oldest 19th century base ball program in the United States, Old Bethpage Village Restoration in Bethpage, New York. He is in charge of the on-field rules (1864, 1884 AA, regular season game rules) and also responsible for the maintenance of the two base ball fields used during the year. Over 70 matches using various sets of rules including a tournament and a festival are played there each season. One hundred and twenty vintage players regularly play at Old Bethpage.
In 2004, the program was featured on The Conan O'Brien Show, This Week in Baseball and the WPIX Morning Show in NY. The National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum featured Old Bethpage and the NY Mutuals in an interactive film that is currently shown in the new 19th Century Exhibit at the Baseball Hall of Fame. Old Bethpage has been featured by The Daily News, The New York Times, The New York Times Magazine, New York Newsday, Newsday (Long Island edition) and Distinction Magazine as well as local TV and print media and was the main feature in the 1998 October edition of Smithsonian Magazine.
NY Mutuals and their great friends, the Providence Grays, were asked to give a two-hour presentation on 19th century base ball, which was subsequently taped, to professors and high school teachers from the San Diego area, in October of 2004. The talk was followed by a match between the Mutuals and the Grays at the famed Doubleday Field and allowed the teachers to experience a live match. Film from that match was used for the opening of a program entitled Discovering our American Spirit: Finding Common Ground in the National Pastime. This event, produced by Ball State University, the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum and hosted by Ozzie Smith, had some of the NY Mutuals return to Cooperstown on April, 2005, and film two live "Electronic Field Trips." The two, one and a half hour shows, featured the various aspects of 19th century base ball and fielded questions from students during the live shows. An estimated 17.5 million student across America watched the two broadcasts. Eric was asked to give an eight minute presentations on the history of the evolution of pitching for each program.
A19th Century Base Ball Conference, held in Cooperstown, NY on October 27 and 28th in 2007. Eric was one of the presenters speaking about the batter's position in the 19th century (this article appears in “The Field” section).
A member of the Hartford Dark Blues, Eric was invited to pitch for Hartford during the 2004 and 2005 National Silver Ball Tournament at the Genesee Country Village in Mumford, NY, helping the Dark Blues make the final match in 2005.
Eric is constantly answering questions from current 19th century teams, programs and players. In 2006, he was elected as a Trustee of the Vintage Base Ball Association (VBBA) and in 2009 was elected as the Historian. Also in 2006, he was acknowledged in two publications. He assisted the author Ray Shaw, Newton Sandy Hook BBC, with the rules and field diagrams for the Vintage Base Ball Scorebook and was acknowledged by leading 19th century baseball writer and historian David Nemec in his 2006 publication The Official Rules of Baseball Illustrated.
Eric was cited by author Peter Morris in his book, A Game of Inches: The Stories behind the Innovations That Shaped Baseball Volume 1: The Game on the Field.
19c Base Ball Inc. was officially formed in 2004, but in 2002 Eric was asked by fellow 19th century player Tom Halecky, to partner with his company Old Tyme Base Ball Inc. This company produced the first machine made game playable 19th century base balls in the United States and featured the 1861–1867 model. Ownership was transferred to Eric in 2004 and three styles of baseballs are now available. He is currently the Designer and Technical Advisor to the manufacturer that produces the game playable baseballs for 19c Base Ball Inc. From 2006 through 2008 he has was a Historical Consultant / Advisor to Da-Cor Pictures for the independent film titled, “The Silent Natural Dummy Hoy” (2007), regarding the rules, field layouts, styles of play and uniforms used during the various years the film depicts and also provided the baseballs used during the filming. In October of 2008, the professional game scenes were re-shot in Indiana and Eric was hired to ensure the authenticity and direct these scenes. During the two day re-shoot, he provided all of the pitching during the filming and doubled for the lead actor in some scenes.
Not only is sports a long lived and adored pastime for Eric, he was also employed in professional sports for 11 years. Starting out as a stick boy for the National Hockey League's New York Islanders from 1988-1991, he was later promoted to Equipment Manager, and part-time practice goalie, from 1996–2000. In 1997, he was selected as an Equipment Manager for Team USA at the Ice Hockey World Championships, which took place in Turku and Helsinki, Finland. From 1991–1993, Eric was both the Equipment Manager and Athletic Trainer for the Louisville Icehawks of the East Coast Hockey League.
With over 500 NHL and 140 minor league games he has been fortunate to be a part of numerous memorable experiences. Two of those have been published. One in, Fish Sticks: The Fall and Rise of the New York Islanders and the other in the 1995-1996 East Coast Hockey League Official Guide and Record Book, in which he cuts hockey legend John Brophy's tie igniting an on ice brawl.
He also ventured into professional football and was on the equipment staff of the Houston Oilers (now the Tennessee Titans) for the team's pre and post-training camps in 1991 and 1992.
Eric lives in North Babylon, New York, has a 6-year old daughter, Christina and a 92-pound black lab named Smokey.