Baseball in the United Kingdom

Baseball in the United Kingdom

Although Baseball is now considered to have originated from England in the United Kingdom [] around 1755, it was many years before it became a widely known sport. Forms of baseball or rounders have been played in the United Kingdom since at least the 17th century, and the traditional game of British baseball continues in Wales and Merseyside.

:"Part of the History of baseball series."

Introduction in the 19th Century

In 1890 the international version of the game was introduced to the United Kingdom in Derby 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. One of the first baseball clubs was the Derby County Baseball Club which ran away with the first championship after the National Baseball League of Great Britain and Ireland was established in 1890. However, pressure from other teams in the league over the number of American players on the Derby team forced Derby to resign at the end of the league's first season, though the baseball club itself lasted until 1898.

Resurgence prior to WWII

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

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 since 1890. The British Baseball Federation (BBF) is the governing body for baseball in the UK and 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.

There are currently four tiers in the national game. The highest level is the National League followed by AAA, AA and A. All are split into a Northern and Southern Conference except for single A. The National League, AAA and AA have a final 4 tournament at the end of each season where the top 2 teams from the Southern Conference and the top 2 from the Northern Conference play a knock out match with the winning teams then progressing to the Championship Series. The Championship Series of the National League is best of 3, the AAA and AA championships are single games.

The season runs from April until August.

Baseball in Northern Ireland is affiliated to Baseball Ireland for practical reasons. Northern Ireland's only team, the Belfast Northstars play in the Irish Adult League.


+ Game three of the 1993 final between Hull & Chicksands was cancelled because of the weather and never played, so both teams shared the Championship. +

External links

* [ BBF (British Baseball Federation)]
* [ History of Baseball in the United Kingdom]
* [ BBF Baseball]
* [ Great Britain National Baseball Team]
* [ Great Britain Baseball Scorers Association] , the home of baseball scoring in the UK.
* [ BaseballMK - Milton Keynes Baseball Club]
* [ Croydon Pirates Baseball Club]
* [ Edinburgh Diamond Devils Baseball Club]
* [ Glasgow Baseball Association]
* [ London Mets Baseball Club]
* [ Northampton Baseball Club]
* [ Richmond Baseball & Softball Club]

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