Baseball at the 1956 Summer Olympics

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Baseball was again a demonstration sport at the 1956 Summer Olympics in Melbourne. Though it was nominally the "foreign" demonstration sport of that Olympiad, Australia had a long history of baseball dating back to at least 1889. The Australians were the first to field a full team in an exhibition match against the United States, represented by a detachment from the United States Far East Command. Many Sheffield Shield cricket players who were quite successful at baseball as a winter sport were unable to be selected on the basis that they were professional players.[1]

Game[edit]

The game was played on 1 December 1956 from 12:30pm at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.[2] Due to the field being set up between the running tracks, right field was only 225 feet so special ground rules were put in place, stating that a ball hit over the running track on the full will be declared a home run, where one that bounces or rolls on or over the track, shall be declared a ground rule double. This rule was put in place to stop baseball cleats damaging the track for the events after the baseball.

As the visiting team, the Americans batted first, scoring 2 runs off 3 hits. Australia did not strike back until the bottom of the 2nd inning, when Chalky White of South Australia hit a solo home run off Vane Sutton. Sutton made up for his error in the top half on the 3rd, with a grand slam to send the score out to a commanding 6-1. The Americans again put the pressure on Australia in the fifth inning as two errors led to another 2 runs to the US, putting them in a comfortable position.[3]

The game was eventually called at 2:40pm, after six completed innings and a final score 11-5, with the Americans batting first. Very few fans were present at the start of the game, but according to Cava1 114,000 had arrived by the sixth inning. This was due to the finals for the 1500 metres, 4x400 metres relay and finish of the men's marathon.

Game score[edit]

Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 Total
United States 2 0 4 0 2 3 11
Australia 0 1 0 0 1 3 5

United States roster[edit]

Australia roster[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Harris, J.O. History of Queensland Baseball pp.96
  2. ^ "Olympic Games". Melbourne Cricket Ground. Retrieved 22 March 2014. 
  3. ^ Clark, Joe (2003). A History of Australian Baseball: Time and Game. University of Nebraska Press. ISBN 0-8032-6440-2. 
  4. ^ Harris, J.O. History of Queensland Baseball pp.95