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World Baseball History

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World Baseball History
This a brief summary of a February 27 Japan Times (paper edition) article that I thought might be of interest to those interested in baseball's origins:
Baseball may have lost its chance to be the world's game back in 1751: The heir to the English throne, Frederick Louis, died that year after being struck in the head fielding a cricket ball. Frederick had been experimenting with a game like baseball and, had he lived, he might have introduced baseball to a wider British public and might have made baseball the national game in England. If the British had played baseball in the 1870s, you'd see everybody in Europe, South America, and Africa playing baseball now.
The article goes on to explain that "baseball and soccer have one common root - England: a game known as "baseball" was described in a book published in 1744 in London. It eventually reached the east coast of America, and the rest is history." The article also mentions the fact that "by the 1890s, American expatriates in Japan outnumbered other foreigners. After dismissing Japanese baseball skills, Americans at the Yokohama Club finally agreed to play the Ichiko Club in 1896. Ichiko thrashed the Americans twice: 29-4 and 32-9. From that moment, it was clear that the Japanese would take to America's game."

The article is a review of a soon-to-be published book "National Pastime: How Americans play Baseball and the Rest of the World Plays Soccer." It also mentions another book "Games and Empires."

Hope that this is of interest/use.

Regards,

Simon A. Timms
Comments
Re: World Baseball History
[ Author: mijow | Posted: Feb 27, 2005 6:31 PM | HT Fan ]

- If the British had played baseball in the 1870s, you'd see everybody in Europe, South America, and Africa playing baseball now.

Well of course that's a whole lot of garbage. Today cricket is basically limited to former British colonies, which of course excludes continental Europe and most of South America. If Frenchmen and Germans and Brazilians don't play cricket today, why would they have taken up baseball instead?

And not all former British colonies play soccer either. Take Australia and New Zealand for instance. In both of these countries soccer is a minor sport. Rugby (or in most Australian states, Aussie Rules) is king in the winter months. So if soccer didn't take off in that part of the world, it's a stretch to say that if the English had played baseball, it would have, ipso facto, become a world sport.
Re: World Baseball History
[ Author: Guest: John Brooks | Posted: Feb 27, 2005 10:34 PM ]

- If the British had played baseball in the 1870s, you'd see everybody in Europe, South America, and Africa playing baseball now.

There would be little influence on the colonies just because a person in England had played baseball. Remember baseball was invented in 1828, it was very different from what it is today. Pitches were underhanded and the distances between bases were very short. Alexlander Cartwright introduced the first baseball team to the United States in 1848. The first of today's baseball we know was in 1876 with the establishment of the National League.

Also, remember there is a professional winter league in Venezuela, not to mention professional leagues in Japan, Taiwan, South Korea, Australia, and numerous other countries.
Re: World Baseball History
[ Author: mijow | Posted: Feb 28, 2005 8:50 AM | HT Fan ]

- Also, remember there is a professional winter league in Venezuela, not to mention professional leagues in Japan, Taiwan, South Korea, Australia, and numerous other countries.

But of course baseball is a very minor sport in Australia. I don't believe there's a professional league in existence at the moment. The largest attendance recorded for a "pro" baseball game in Australia is something like 4,000 - and that's only because they'd given away 3,000 free tickets.
Re: World Baseball History
[ Author: Guest: John Brooks | Posted: Feb 28, 2005 10:36 AM ]

- I don't believe there's a professional league in existence at the moment.

The International Baseball League was a professional league in Australia. The International Baseball League [Austrailian Baseball History] replaced the ABL in Australia. Though it does look like there is no professional league in Australia at the moment, my mistake.
Re: World Baseball History
[ Author: Guest: CF | Posted: Jun 8, 2005 10:36 PM ]

Cricket is played in Europe, there are cricket pitches in France, Portugal, Spain, and Holland amongst others, and the game is also played in Ireland.

Holland also features regularly in the World Cup with other non-Test playing nations such as Kenya and the U.A.E.

Cricket's worldwide popularity far outweighs that of baseball, no more so than in the Indian sub-continent in India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and Bangladesh.
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