Baseball in the United Kingdom

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This article is about the modern American sport of baseball in the UK. For the sport of British baseball, see British baseball. For historical use of the term baseball, see Origins of baseball.

Introduction in the 19th Century[edit]

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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. Aston Villa, now known exlusively as a football club, won the only professional baseball championship in 1890. The competition was hindered by poor weather and disappointing crowds and made a loss to its investors. [1] 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. The so-called Baseball Ground continued to be used under that name as the home of football's Derby County F.C. for over a century, from 1895 to 1997.

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 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, 875 adult and Junior (Under 18) players ranging geographically from Croydon to Liverpool, Portsmouth to Edinburgh. The Junior Great British National Team consists of 15 players which recently competed in the European championships.

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 four tournament at the end of each season where the top two teams from the Southern Conference and the top two 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 three, the AAA and AA championships are single games.

The season runs from April until August.

Baseball in Scotland is governed by Baseball Scotland. There are currently six teams in Scotland: Edinburgh Diamond Devils, Edinburgh Cannons, Edinburgh Giants, Glasgow Galaxy, Glasgow Comets, and the Granite City Oilers, who are playing their first season in the league. The league has been self-run for six years and is still looking to expand to have teams in Dundee, Perth and the Borders. The Edinburgh Diamond Devils are the largest run club in the UK, with three adult teams and two junior teams.

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.

Champions[edit]

Season Winners Score Runners-up Comments
1890 Preston North End F.C.[2]
1892 Middlesbrough F.C.
1893 Thespian London
1894 Thespian London
1895 Derby County Baseball Club
1896 Wallsend-On-Tyne
1897 Derby County Baseball Club
1898 Derby County Baseball Club
1899 Nottingham Forest F.C.
1906 Tottenham Hotspur F.C.
1907 Clapton Orient
1908 Tottenham Hotspur F.C.
1909 Clapton Orient
1910 Brentford
1911 Leyton
1934 Hatfield Liverpool
1935 New London
1936 White City London
1937 Hull
1938 Rochdale Greys
1939 Halifax
1948 Liverpool Robins
1949 Hornsey Red Sox
1950 Burtonwood Bees
1951 Burtonwood Bees
1959 Thames Board Mills 12-3 East Hull Aces
1960 Thames Board Mills 6-1 Liverpool Tigers
1961 Liverpool Tigers
1962 Liverpool Tigers 8-3 East Hull Aces
1963 East Hull Aces 8-3 Garringtons
1964 Hull Aces
1965 Hull Aces 4-2 Stretford Saints
1966 Stretford Saints 3-1 Liverpool Aces
1967 Liverpool Yankees 4-2 Beckenham Bluejays
1968 Hull Aces 4-1 Hull Royals
1969 Watford-Sun Rockets 8-7 Liverpool Trojans
1970 Hull Royals 3-1 Hull Aces
1971 Liverpool Tigers 8-3 Hull Aces
1972 Hull Aces Hull Royals
1973 Burtonwood Yanks 23-3 Hull Aces
1974 Nottingham Lions 5-3 Hull Royals
1975 Liverpool Tigers
1975 Liverpool Tigers 5-3 Nottingham Lions
1976 Liverpool Trojans 5-4 Spirit Of '76
1977 Golders Green Sox 9-5 Hull Aces
1978 Liverpool Trojans 14-12 Crawley Giants
1979 Golders Green Sox 9-7 Hull Aces
1980 Liverpool Trojans 12-1 Hull Aces
1981 London Warriors 23-1 Hull Aces
1982 London Warriors 16-7 Liverpool Trojans
1983 Cobham Yankees 10-3 Hull Mets
1984 Croydon Blue Jays 9-8 Hull Mets
1985 Hull Mets 10-8 London Warriors
1986 Cobham Yankees 12-5 Hull Mets
1987 Cobham Yankees 6-0 Southglade Hornets
1988 Cobham Yankees 16-1 Burtonwood Braves
1989 Enfield Spartans 15-9 Sutton Braves
1990 Enfield Spartans 22-3 Hull Mets
1991 Enfield Spartans 2-0 London Athletics Games
1992 Leeds City Royals BBF. Awarded championship by walkover
1992 London Warriors 2-0 Enfield Spartans NL. Games
1993 Humberside Mets 1-1 Chicksands Indians BBF. One game each
1993 London Warriors 2-1 Enfield Spartans NL
1994 Humberside Mets 2-0 Essex Arrows BBF. Games
1994 Enfield Spartans Waltham Forest Angels NL
1995 Menwith Hill Pirates 2-0 London Warriors Games
1996 Menwith Hill Pirates 2-0 London Warriors Games
1997 London Warriors 2-0 Kingston-upon-Hull Cobras Games
1998 Menwith Hill Patriots 2-0 London Warriors Games
1999 Brighton Buccaneers 16-4 Windsor Bears
2000 London Warriors 11-7 Brighton Buccaneers
2001 Brighton Buccaneers 8-5 Windsor Bears
2002 Brighton Buccaneers 5-1 Windsor Bears
2003 Windsor Bears 9-4 Brighton Buccaneers
2004 Croydon Pirates 12-10 Windsor Bears
 2005 Croydon Pirates 2-0 Brighton Buccaneers Games
2006 Richmond Flames 2-1 Croydon Pirates Games
2007 London Mets 2-0 Croydon Pirates Games
2008 London Mets 11-4 Richmond Flames
2009 Bracknell Blazers 16-4 Richmond Flames
2010 Richmond Flames 10-1 Bracknell Blazers
2011 Harlow Nationals 13-3 Lakenheath Diamondbacks
2012 Harlow Nationals 6-3 Herts Falcons
2013 Southern Nationals 12-7 Southampton Mustangs

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

Current teams[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]