Baseball in the United Kingdom
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|Governing body||British Baseball Federation|
|National team||Men's national team;
Women's national team
Introduction in the 19th century
|Part of a series on the|
|History of baseball|
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. 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
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.
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.
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.
|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|
|1895||Derby County Baseball Club||20-16||Fullers|
|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.|
|1908||Tottenham Hotspur F.C.||6-5||Leyton|
|1910||Brentford||20-5||West Ham United|
|1935||New London||7-1||Rochdale Greys|
|1936||White City||9-5||Catford Saints|
|1938||Rochdale Greys||1-0||Oldham Greyhounds||15 innings|
|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|
||Liverpool (9), Warrington (3), Preston (1), Rochdale (1), Stretford (1)|
|Yorkshire and the Humber||
||Hull (9), Harrogate (3), Halifax (1), Leeds (1)|
||Cobham (4), Brighton (3), Bracknell (1), Windsor (1)|
|East of England||
||Harlow (2), Purfleet (2), Bedford (1), Waltham Abbey (1), Watford (1)|
||Derby (3), Nottingham (2)|
||Middlesbrough (1), Newcastle (1)|
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