Great Britain national baseball team
|Federation||British Baseball Federation|
The Great Britain national baseball team is the top representative baseball team for Great Britain and is run by the British Baseball Federation. It represents the nation in senior-level men's international competition. The team has a long history of competing in CEB-sanctioned national team events.
Before the founding of CEB, an England representative squad (a precursor to the Great Britain national team) defeated the United States four-games-to-one in 1938 in what was at the time called a test series, after the terminology used in international cricket. The event was later dubbed the first Baseball World Cup. Today, Great Britain is recognized as the inaugural world baseball champions.
It wouldn't be until 1967 that an England squad (again a forerunner to the Great Britain team), would again enter a major event. That year, England took the silver medal at the European Baseball Championship. England returned to international play in 1971 but would finish seventh in an eight-team field at the European Championships.
Between 1984 and 1996, the Great Britain national team, which began taking shape in the early 1980s, bounced between the top tier of European baseball and the second level (B-pool; now called the "qualification pool"). GB squads won the European B-Pool Championship title in both 1988 and 1996, earning promotion to the top level. The 1991 team was relegated to the lower tier after finishing in last place at the European Championships in Italy.
Since 1997, Great Britain has been a consistent member of Europe's elite level, finishing in the top-10 at the European Championships in 1997, 1999, 2001, 2003 and 2005. In 2007, GB earned the silver medal behind tournament MVP and U.S. minor league player (AAA) Brant Ust.
Although GB's performance at the 2007 European Championships earned them a spot in the 2008 Final Olympic Qualification Tournament, they ended up not fielding a team because the British Baseball Federation could not raise the 40,000 pounds needed to send a squad.
Great Britain competed in the 2017 World Baseball Classic Qualifiers, where it was defeated in the finals by Team Israel. On September 20, 2022, Great Britain qualified for its first World Baseball Classic by defeating Spain 10–9 in 10 innings in Regensburg, Germany. Great Britain went 1-3 in the tournament, earning their first WBC win against Columbia winning 7-5. They then got their third European Championship Silver in 2023 aided by Mariners prospect Harry Ford from their WBC team and former major leaguer Jake Esch.
The team has received publicity for having its own artist-in-residence who travels with the squad, wearing a team uniform: Andy Brown.
Managers in major events
- Chummy McNeil, 1938
- Ted James, 1967
- Clive Megson, 1971
- Ron Marshall, 1980-1986
- Michael Harrold, 1988-1995
- Ralph Rago, 1996-1997
- Gary Roberts, 1999-2003
- Stephan Rapaglia, 2004-2009
- Pat Doyle, 2010
- Sam Dempster, 2011-2014
- Liam Carroll, 2016-2019
- Drew Spencer, 2021-2023