History of baseball in Great Britain

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The history of baseball in Great Britain dates to the 19th Century.


Introduction in the 19th Century[edit]

Forms of Baseball have been played in the United Kingdom since at least the 18th century, and the traditional game of British Baseball continues in Wales and Merseyside. The international version of the game was introduced to the United Kingdom in 1890 by Francis Ley, a Derby man who had discovered the game on a trip to the United States, and Albert Goodwill Spalding an American sporting goods businessman who saw opportunities to expand his business across the Atlantic. The National League of Baseball of Great Britain existed in 1890.

An unusual variation of the game, known as British Baseball is played in parts of England and Wales. It involves 11 players per team and shares some terminology with cricket.

Resurgence prior to WWII[edit]

Baseball's peak popularity in Britain was in the years immediately preceding World War II. Baseball teams shared grounds with football clubs (hence Derby County’s home ground was named the Baseball Ground), and the game was run at a professional standard with up to 10,000 spectators per game.

One milestone of baseball in the United Kingdom was the 1938 victory of Great Britain over the United States to win the inaugural World Cup of Baseball.

At present[edit]

Today, there are more than 40 baseball teams and 875 adult players, ranging geographically from Cambridge to Liverpool, Southampton to Edinburgh.

There have been numerous league formats and governing bodies since 1890. Beginning in 1987, the British Baseball Federation (BBF) has governed the baseball leagues. Baseball clubs pay annual affiliation fees to be a member of the BBF and play in the BBF Leagues and Junior Leagues. There is also a full Great Britain Baseball Programme which comprises the Great Britain Baseball Academy, junior national teams and Great Britain 'Seniors' Baseball Team.

Since 2000, BaseballSoftballUK, the development agency for baseball and softball in the United Kingdom has provided services to the British Baseball Federation (BBF) with the aim of developing and increasing the levels of participation, skill and achievement in UK baseball and softball. This occurs at both junior and adult levels, from school and grassroots through domestic adult clubs up to the Great Britain national teams.

There are currently three tiers in the national game.

The season runs from April until August.

External links[edit]

Some or all content from this article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Baseball in the United Kingdom". This page needs wiki formatting, links and a general cleanup.