Barnstorm (sports)

Barnstorm (sports)

Barnstorming in athletics refers to sports teams or individuals that travel to various locations, usually small towns, to stage exhibition matches.

Some barnstorming teams lack any home arena whatsoever, while other teams have been known to go on "barnstorming tours" in the off-season. Teams in baseball's Negro Leagues often barnstormed before, during and after their league's "regular season". While barnstorming is no longer as popular as it was in the early twentieth century, some teams such as basketball's Harlem Globetrotters, softball's King and His Court and ice hockey's Buffalo Sabres Alumni Hockey Team carry on the tradition to this day.

Barnstorming teams differ from traveling teams in that barnstorming teams operate outside the framework of an established athletic league, while traveling teams (also known as "road teams") are designated by a league, formally or informally, to be a designated visiting team for all, or almost all, of its league games.

Numerous auto racers, most notably Barney Oldfield, staged exhibitions around the United States in the early twentieth century. Oldfield barnstormed against an airplane pilot Lincoln Beachey at least 35 times in 1914.


The Lancaster Barnstormers of the Atlantic League of Professional Baseball are named for the act of barnstorming. Lancaster County, Pennsylvania hosted many barnstorming baseball games in the early 1900s. The Barnstormers play at Clipper Magazine Stadium in the city of Lancaster.

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