Baseball in the United Kingdom

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This article is about the New York code of baseball in the UK. For the indigenous sport, see British baseball. For historical use of the term baseball, see Origins of baseball.
Country United Kingdom
Governing body British Baseball Federation
National team Men's national team;
Women's national team
First played 1862
National competitions
  • British Baseball Federation
    AA and
    A divisions

Baseball is a minor sport in the United Kingdom.[1][2][3][4][5][6][7][8][9][10][11][12][13]

Introduction in the 19th century[edit]

Derby County Baseball Club group photo
Derby County were one of Britain's leading baseball teams in the 1890s

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 former star player and sporting goods businessman who saw opportunities to expand his business across the Atlantic. Aston Villa, now known exclusively 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.[14] One of the first baseball clubs was the Derby County Baseball Club who lead 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 and low attendances forced Derby to resign before the end of the 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 in the 1938 Amateur World Series, considered the first 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, Bristol 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.

The league format is divided into the national divisions, consisting of four tiers from the National League, down to tier 'A' leagues, and the Northern League for teams based in Northern England. At the end of the season, all divisions except the 'A' Leagues have a final four tournament where the top two teams from each 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. In addition to this there are two leagues independent of the British Baseball Federation, the Scottish National League, run by Baseball Scotland and the South West Baseball League, representing the South West of England.

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.

British University Baseball has also been growing with 20 universities with clubs at the end of the 2015/16 season: Cambridge, Coventry, Durham, Edinburgh, Essex, Exeter, Hull, Imperial, Leeds Beckett, Leeds Gryphons Baseball Club, Loughborough, Manchester Metropolitan University (Cheshire), Nottingham University, Nottingham Trent University, Sheffield, Southampton, Stirling, Swansea, UCL and UEA. The University season runs from September to May, the typical off-season for the sport. Without a British Universities & Colleges Sport (BUCS) league, teams compete in the National University Baseball Championships (NUBC) tournament, which happens twice a year in the spring and the autumn and are run by BaseballSoftballUK (BSUK). The Spring 2016 Champions are Loughborough, and have won the past 3 NUBC tournaments. Despite not having a BUCS league a Northern University Baseball League was set up for the 2015/16 season, and is planned to expand and be renamed to the National University Baseball League, and have a similar set up to the BBF leagues.


Season Winners Score Runners-up Comments
1890 Aston Villa Preston North End No playoff
1892 Middlesbrough F.C. 25-16 St. Thomas's
1893 Thespian London 33-6 Darlington St. Augustine's
1894 Thespian London 38-14 Stockton-on-Tees
1895 Derby County Baseball Club 20-16 Fullers
1896 Wallsend-On-Tyne 16-10 Remingtons
1897 Derby County Baseball Club 30-7 Middlesbrough F.C.
1899 Derby County Baseball Club 14-3 Nottingham Forest F.C.
1900 Nottingham Forest F.C. 17-16 Derby County Baseball Club
1906 Tottenham Hotspur F.C.
1907 Clapton Orient 8-7 Fulham
1908 Tottenham Hotspur F.C. 6-5 Leyton
1909 Clapton Orient 6-4 Leyton
1910 Brentford 20-5 West Ham United
1911 Leyton 6-5 Crystal Palace
1934 Hatfield 13-12 Albion
1935 New London 7-1 Rochdale Greys
1936 White City 9-5 Catford Saints
1937 Hull 5-1 Romford Wasps
1938 Rochdale Greys 1-0 Oldham Greyhounds 15 innings
1939 Halifax 9-5 Rochdale Greys
1948 Liverpool Robins 13-0 Thames Board Mills
1949 Hornsey Red Sox 10-5 Liverpool Cubs
1950 Burtonwood Bees 23-2 Hornsey Red Sox
1951 Burtonwood Bees 9-2 Ruislip Rockets
1959 Thames Board Mills 12-4 East Hull Aces
1960 Thames Board Mills 6-1 Liverpool Tigers
1962 Liverpool Tigers 8-3 East Hull Aces
1963 East Hull Aces 8-3 Garringtons
1965 Kingston 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 11 innings
1970 Hull Royals 3-1 Hull Aces
1971 Liverpool Tigers 8-3 Hull Aces
1972 Hull Aces 6-4 Hull Royals
1973 Burtonwood Yanks 23-3 Hull Aces
1974 Nottingham Lions 5-3 Hull Royals
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 9-7, 2-4, 4-1 London Athletics Spartans won 2 games to 1
1992 BBF Leeds City Royals Humberside Mets Awarded championship by walkover
1992 NL London Warriors 23-0, 5-4 Enfield Spartans Warriors won 2 games to 0
1993 BBF Humberside Mets and Chicksands Indians Title decider not played
1993 NL London Warriors 2-1 Enfield Spartans
1994 BBF Humberside Mets 2-3, 10-0, 8-0 Essex Arrows Mets won 2 games to 1
1994 NL Enfield Spartans 8-5 Waltham Forest Angels
1995 Menwith Hill Pirates 3-2, 7-6 London Warriors Pirates won 2 games to 0
1996 Menwith Hill Pirates 14-9, 11-23, 18-12 London Warriors Pirates won 2 games to 1
1997 London Warriors 11-5, 31-12 Kingston-upon-Hull Cobras Warriors won 2 games to 0
1998 Menwith Hill Patriots 13-5, 17-15 London Warriors Patriots won 2 games to 0
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 11-4, 10-9 Brighton Buccaneers Pirates won 2 games to 0
2006 Richmond Flames 7-11, 8-5, 9-0 Croydon Pirates Flames won 2 games to 1
2007 London Mets 7-2, 11-1 Croydon Pirates Mets won 2 games to 0
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
2014 Essex Arrows 5-1, 5-4 London Mets Arrows won 2 games to 0
2015 London Mets 6-2, 11-2 Southampton Mustangs Mets won 2 games to 0
2016 Southampton Mustangs 0-1, 7-3, 9-4 London Mets Mustangs won 2 games to 1

Championships by Region

Region Number of championships Towns/Cities
London (31)
North West
Liverpool (9), Warrington (3), Preston (1), Rochdale (1), Stretford (1)
Yorkshire and the Humber
Hull (9), Harrogate (3), Halifax (1), Leeds (1)
South East
Cobham (4), Brighton (3), Bracknell (1), Windsor (1)
East of England
Harlow (2), Purfleet (2), Bedford (1), Waltham Abbey (1), Watford (1)
East Midlands
Derby (3), Nottingham (2)
North East
Middlesbrough (1), Newcastle (1)
West Midlands
Birmingham (1)
South West


See also[edit]


  1. ^ Sulat, Nate (26 July 2013). "Why isn't baseball more popular in the UK?". Retrieved 4 October 2016 – via 
  2. ^ Robinson, Craig (28 January 2012). "Baseball In England: A Primer". Retrieved 4 October 2016. 
  3. ^ editor, Lucy Sherriff Multimedia; UK, The Huffington Post (19 June 2015). "MLB Players Want To Come And Play Baseball In London. So Why Don't They?". Retrieved 4 October 2016. 
  4. ^ CNN, By Simon Hooper,. "Did baseball begin in 18th-century England? -". Retrieved 4 October 2016. 
  5. ^ agencies, By Telegraph staff and. "Major League Baseball told: Your sport is British, not American". Retrieved 4 October 2016. 
  6. ^ Palmer, Brian (10 August 2011). "Why Are They Using Baseball Bats Instead of Cricket Bats in the U.K. Riots?". Retrieved 4 October 2016 – via Slate. 
  7. ^ "BBC NEWS - UK - England - Surrey - Baseball's UK heritage confirmed". Retrieved 4 October 2016. 
  8. ^ "The 'Secret History' Of Baseball's Earliest Days". Retrieved 4 October 2016. 
  9. ^ News, A. B. C. (24 September 2016). "Inspire, develop, perform: Unheralded British baseball chasing history". Retrieved 4 October 2016. 
  10. ^ "Diary entry may prove baseball was invented in England". Retrieved 4 October 2016. 
  11. ^ "British baseball on verge of making history". Retrieved 4 October 2016. 
  12. ^ "MLB - Baseball in Europe is about to take off". 2011-09-13. Retrieved 2016-10-05. 
  13. ^ Daniel Luzer. "How America Stole Baseball From the United Kingdom". Retrieved 2016-10-05. 
  14. ^ Kendrick, Mat. "Aston Villa: The day the claret and blues won the baseball league". Birmingham Mail. Retrieved 2016-10-03. 

External links[edit]