History of baseball outside the United States
Perhaps the first recorded instances of baseball played "outside" North America came in 1874, when a party comprising members of the Boston and Philadelphia clubs toured
Englandboth playing cricketand demonstrating baseball. A further tour, by the Chicago club with the addition of various All-Stars in the winter of 1888–89, took the game to Hawaii, Australia, New Zealandand the south Pacific Islands. Returning via Europe and North Africa they played more demonstration games, including one in front of the Sphinxin Egypt.
The International Baseball Federation (IBAF)
International Baseball Federation(IBF) was founded in 1938, after the inaugural Baseball World Cupheld in London. About 5 years later, the name of the federation was changed to "Federacion Internacional de Beisbol Amateur" (FIBA).
In 1973, struggles in the FIBA led to a dissident organisation, the "Federacion Mundial de Beisbol Amateur" (FEMBA), which organised its own World Championships. The two organisations were reconciled in 1976, forming the "International Baseball Association" (AINBA).
In 1984, the name of the federation was once again changed, this time to "International Baseball Association" (IBA). In 2000, the original name was assumed again, International Baseball Federation, now abbreviated to IBAF.
Baseball World Cup
The first World Cup (or World Championships) in baseball were held in 1938, as teams from the
United Statesand United Kingdomplayed a series of five games. Britain won four and became the first baseball World Champion. After this championship, the IBF was founded (see above). World Cups have been played at irregular intervals ever since; the 36th took place in the Netherlandsin September 2005. Until 1996 professional players were not allowed to participate in the World Cups; since then major league players generally have not participated because the tournaments have conflicted with regular season games.
Below are listed the 36 World Cups held to date:
The first Caribbean Baseball World Series was held in 1949, involving teams from Cuba, Puerto Rico, Panama, and Venezuela. Cuban teams dominated the tournament, winning seven out of twelve titles. The first incarnation of the Caribbean Series was cancelled after Fidel Castro abolished professional baseball in 1961. The Caribbean Series was revived in 1970, with teams from the
Dominican Winter League, Mexican Pacific League, Puerto Rican Professional Baseball Leagueand Venezuelan Professional Baseball League. The most successful franchise is Santo Domingo's Tigres del Licey, which has won ten Caribbean Series titles. Puerto Rico's Cangrejeros de Santurce (Santucre Crabbers) and the Dominican Republic's Águilas Cibaeñashave both won the title five times.
World Baseball Classic
In 2006, the inaugural
World Baseball Classictook place from March 3–20. The tournament, sanctioned by the International Baseball Federation(IBAF), was organized by Major League Baseballand the Major League Baseball Players Associationin cooperation with other professional leagues and player associations from around the world. The tournament was held before the start of domestic league play for many nations, allowing professional players from domestic leagues to participate. On March 20, Japan defeated Cuba 10-6 in the final held in San Diego, Californiato win the 2006 World Baseball Classic. The next WBC will take place in 2009, and every four years thereafter.
Sometimes, baseball matches played during the Louisiana Purchase Exposition in St. Louis in 1904 are listed as demonstrations at the
Olympic Gamesheld in the same year. However, most historians do not regard them like this; actually any sports competition held in St. Louis has received a predicate 'Olympic'.
The first real Olympic appearance of baseball is in 1912, as a team from
Västeråsplayed against competitors from the U.S. track and field team at the Olympic Gamesin Stockholm, Sweden. The United States beat the Swedish team, which played with some Americans borrowed from the opponent, 13-3. A second game was played later, which included decathlon star Jim Thorpeas a right fielder. USA won again, 6-3.
For the 1936 Olympics, the German hosts had invited the United States to play a demonstration match against
Japan. As Japan withdrew, the US sent two 'all-star' teams, named the 'World Champions' and the 'U.S. Olympics'. For a layman crowd of 90,000 (sometimes reported as 125,000), the World Champions won 6-5.
There were plans for including baseball at the 1940 Olympics originally scheduled for
Japan, but these plans were abandoned after Japan had to withdraw its bid because of its war in Manchuria.
World War II, a Finnish game akin to baseball, pesäpallo, was demonstrated at the 1952 Olympics in Helsinki. Four years later, another demonstration of baseball took place at the Olympic in Melbourne, Australia. A team made up of servicemen from the U.S. Far East Command played Australia. Although initially with few spectators, during the match the crowd for the other athletic events entered the stadium, adding up to 114,000 spectators, which is reportedly still the biggest crowd to any baseball game ever. The match was won by the USA, 11-5.
In 1964, the Olympic Games took place in
Tokyo, Japan, where baseball was quite popular. A team of American college players — with eight future major league players — was fielded against a Japanese amateur all-star team. The Americans continued their Olympic winning streak, as they triumphed 6-2.
In 1981, baseball was granted the status of a demonstration sport for Los Angeles 1984, and rather than a single match, a full tournament would be organised. With the strong
Cuban team absent due to the Soviet-led boycott the field consisted of: United States, Japan, South Korea, Dominican Republic, Canada, Taiwan, Italyand Nicaragua. The final was contested between Japan and the US, and the guests won 6-3, ending the American Olympic victory row.
Another demonstration tournament was held in 1988 in
Seoul, South Korea. Again, Cuba, the team that won all major international championships since 1984, boycotted the Games. In a field consisting of United States, Japan, South Korea, Puerto Rico, Canada, Taiwan, Netherlandsand Australia, Japan and the US again reached the final. Helped by 4 RBIs and 2 homers from Tino Martinez, the United States won 5-3.
At the 1986 IOC congress, it had been decided that the first official Olympic baseball tournament would be held in
Barcelona, Spainin 1992.
117th IOC Session, delegates voted to remove baseball and softballfrom the 2012 Summer Olympicsin London. While both sports' lack of major appeal in a significant portion of the world was a factor, Major League Baseball's unwillingness to have a break during the Games so that its players could participate (like the National Hockey Leaguedoes during the Winter Olympic Games) also played a role in the decision. MLB officials have pointed out that a two-week break in mid-season would necessitate a major reshuffling of its schedule: either the season would have to begin in March and/or the World Series would run into November. (The dozen or so games could be made up by playing doubleheaders, but both the player's union and the owners are against this.) Others saw the move as an anti-American slap delivered by the Europeans on the IOC. Women's softballwas particularly hit hard by this ruling as there are few other venues where female softballplayers have a chance to show their talents in front of such a large audience.
This time, the strong Cuban team was present and it won all of its games, beating the US in the semi-finals 4-1, and routing Taiwan in the final 11-1. The United States was upset by Japan in the bronze medal match, losing 8-3. Final ranking:
In 1996, in
Atlanta, Cuba and the United States were set to meet in the final. While the Cubans won their semi-final match against Nicaragua, the United States once again stumbled over Japan and lost 11-2. In the final, Cuba retained its Olympic unbeaten status, winning the gold 13-9, while USA beat Nicaragua 10-3 for the bronze medal. Final ranking:
2000 Summer Olympicsin Sydney, Australia, professional players were allowed for the first time, although no Major Leaguers played for the US. Once again, Cuba was the hot favourite, but they were shocked in the round-robin phase by the Netherlands, who beat them 4-2 but failed to make the semi-finals. In the semi-finals, the United States narrowly beat South Korea, while Cuba edged Japan 3-0 for a third straight Olympic final. In that final, the United States upset the Cubans, beating them 4-0. Final ranking:
Professional players were again allowed in the 2004 Olympics. Most notably, the
United Statesbaseball team did not participate after losing a qualifying game to Mexico. A number of Americans of Greek descent played for the host nation, however. Japan and Cuba went into the games as the favorites for the gold medal match, but a strong showing by Australia against Japan (Australia beat Japan 9-4 in the preliminary round and again 1-0 in the semi-finals) knocked Japan out of the race for the gold. Cuba ended up winning the gold, defeating Australia 6-2, while Japan took bronze, beating Canada 11-2. Final ranking:
Only a small number of
African countries are members of the IBAF, the members mostly concentrated in southern Africa and on the west coast of the continent. The only country so far to have competed in international events is South Africa, which took part in three World Championships, and finished 8th in the 2000 Olympics.
Baseball in the Americas is a very popular sport. It is very popular in the United States and in Mexico. In countries in Central America it is very popular probably because of the Hispanic influence. In Mexico it is very popular and is the prominent sport of the country after soccer. It is also the most popular sport in
Nicaraguaand Panamawith the game also popular on the Caribbean coast of Colombia. Both Nicaragua and Colombia operate professional winter leagues, while Panama was invited to the inaugural 2006 World Baseball Classic.
The first baseball game recorded in
Canadawas played in Beachville, Ontarioon June 14, 1838. Many Canadians, including the staff of the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fameand Museum in St. Marys, Ontario, claim that this was the first documented game of modern baseball, although there appears to be no evidence that the rules used in this game were codified and adopted in other regions.
London Tecumsehsof London, Ontariowere charter members of the International Association and won its first championship in 1877, beating the Pittsburgh Alleghenies.
While baseball is widely played in Canada, the American major leagues did not include a Canadian team until 1969, when the
Montreal Exposjoined the National League(the London Tecumsehs were refused admission to the National League in 1877 because they refused to stop playing exhibition games against local teams). In 2004, MLB decided to move the Expos to Washington, DC.
In 1977, the
Toronto Blue Jaysjoined the American League. They won the World Seriesin 1992 and 1993.
In 2003 an attempt to create the
Canadian Baseball Leaguewas launched, but the league folded halfway through its first season.
A few Canada-based teams play in low-tier American circuits. See
List of baseball teams in Canada.
The early years (1864–1874)
Baseball was introduced to
Cubain the 1860s by Cubans who studied in the United Statesand American sailors who ported in the country. The sport quickly spread across the island nation. Nemisio Guillois credited with bringing a bat and baseballto Cuba in 1864 after being schooled in Mobile, Alabama. Two more Cubans were sent to Mobile, one being his brother Ernesto Guillo. The Guillo brothers and their contemporaries formed a baseball team in 1868—the Habana Baseball Club. The club won one major match—against the crew of an American schooner anchored at the Matanzasharbour. [http://www.econlib.org/library/Columns/y2006/Martinezbaseball.html]
Soon after this, the first Cuban War of Independence against its Spanish rulers spurred Spanish authorities in 1869 to ban playing the sport in Cuba [http://www.econlib.org/library/Columns/y2006/Martinezbaseball.html] because Cubans began to prefer baseball to viewing bullfights which Cubans were expected dutifully attend as homage to their Spanish rulers in an informal cultural mandate. As such, baseball became symbolic of freedom and egalitarianism to the Cuban people. The ban also prompted
Esteban Bellánto join the semipro Troy Haymakers. He became the first Latin American player to play in a Major League in the United States. Bellan started playing baseball for the Fordham Rose Hill Baseball Club, while attending St. John's College (1863—1868, now Fordham University) in the Bronx, New York. After that he played for the Unions of Morrisania, a team from what is now part of New York City. Bellan played for the Haymakers until 1862; in 1861 it joined the National Association. [http://www.library.fordham.edu/cubanbaseball/E_Bellan.html]
The first official match in Cuba took place in Pueblo Nuevo,
Matanzas, at the Palmar del Junco, December 27, 1874. It was between Club Matanzasand Club Habana, the latter winning 51 to 9, in nine innings.
Cuban baseball is organized (1878–1898)
In late 1878 the
Cuban Leaguewas organized, consisting of three teams—Almendares, Habana, and Mantanzas—and playing four games per team. The first game was played on December 29 1878, with Habana defeating Almendares 21 to 20. Habana, under team captain Bellán, was undefeated in winning the first championship. The teams were amateurs (and all whites), but gradually professionalism took hold as teams bid away players from rivals.
Cuban baseball becomes international (1898–1933)
Spanish-American Warbrought increased opportunities to play against top teams from the United States. Also, the Cuban League admitted black players beginning in 1900. Soon many of the best players from the Northern American Negro Leagueswere playing on integrated teams in Cuba. Beginning in 1908, Cuban teams scored a number of successes in competition against major league baseball teams, behind outstanding players such as pitcher José Méndezand outfielder Cristóbal Torriente. By the 1920s, the level of play in the Cuban League was superb, as Negro League stars like Oscar Charlestonand John Henry Lloydspent their winters playing in Cuba.
Decline and abolition of the Cuban League
Great Depression, the Cuban League came close to bankruptcy. The revolution which overthrew the administration of Gerardo Machadoforced the cancellation of the 1933-34 season. When the league resumed play, it was without black American ballplayers and many of its Cuban stars who departed for the Negro Leagues, most notably pitcher-outfielder Martín Dihigo. The League's financial situation improved over the course of the decade, enabling it to attract many star players from the Negro League, including power-hitting catcher Josh Gibson, shortstop Willie Wellsand third baseman Ray Dandridge, as well as white Latin American Major Leaguers, including the great Venezuelan pitcher Alex Carrasquel. World War IIresulted in new travel restrictions cutting off the flow of ball-players from the U.S. The end of the wartime player shortage resulted in pay cuts in the U.S. major leagues, leading many players to sign contracts with Cuban League and the newly-formed Mexican League. In 1946, a record 36,000 fans attended the opening of the Gran Estado del Cerro (now known as Estadio Latinoamericanoin Havana. The 1946–47 season included a number of major leaguers, including Lou Kleinand Max Lanier, alongside such great Cuban ballplayers as Orestes (Minnie) Miñoso, Connie Marrero, Julio Moreno, and Sandalio (Sandy) Consuegra. Efforts to control the flow of players to Latin America culminated in a 1947 agreement with the National Association of Professional Baseball Leaguesto bring minor and major league players to Cuba during the winter off-season in the U.S. Cuba League champions dominated the Caribbean Series, which began in 1949. The Havana Cubans, a team formed by a Washington Senators scout in 1946, joined the International Leagueas a farm team of the Cincinnati Redsin 1954, when they were renamed the Havana Sugar Kings. Despite encountering discrimination on the basis of language and race, many Cuban ball-players had success in the Major Leagues, including pitcher Camilo Pascualand former Negro Leaguefirst baseman Minnie Miñoso.
In 1959, the year
Fidel Castroseized power in the Cuban revolution, the Havana Sugar Kings won the International Leaguechampionship, and captured the Little World Seriesby defeating the Minneapolis Millersof the American Association. Castro was an avid fan of the Sugar Kings, and pitched for a pickup squad "Los Barbudos" in an exhibition game on July 24, 1959. However, the following day, gunfire erupted in the stadium during raucous celebrations on the anniversary of the 26th of July Movement, forcing the cancellation of the Sugar Kings season. The following year, after Castro announced the nationalization of all American-owned enterprises, the Baseball Commissionerannounced the Sugar Kings would be relocated to Jersey City.
In 1961, professional sports were abolished, and the
Cuban Leaguewas replaced by the amateur Cuban National Series. Havana's Industriales, founded by workers representatives from the cities industries and intended as heir to Almandares club, dominated the league, winning four of the first five championships. Initially consisting of four teams, by 1967 the number had increased to 16, with the construction of new stadiums in all of the nation's provincial capitals. Industriales, with most of the top-tier ballplayers from Havana, has remained the strongest team, but Santiago de Cuba, Villa Clara and Pinar del Río have also experienced considerable success.
Baseball was first brought to the Dominican Republic by Cuban sugar planters who arrived in the country in the 1870s, fleeing the
Ten Years Waron their home island, and built the nation's first mechanized sugar mills. Cuban sugar planters began providing baseball equipment to their workers as a diversion to keep up morale. Much of the labor force of the sugar industry was made up of migrants from the British West Indies, and were familiar with cricket. Several semi-professional baseball clubs were founded in the early twentieth century, most notably Santo Domingo's storied Tigres de Licey. The U.S. occupation from 1916 to 1924 resulted in further inroads, as military administrators provided money to form and purchase equipment for amateur clubs, while organizing games between Dominican clubs and U.S. Marines. Towards the end of the occupation, professional baseball took on the shape and structure it retains today, with two teams in Santo Domingo— Tigres de Liceyand Leones de Escogido—and one each in San Pedro de Macoris, La Romana and Santiago. Generalissimo Rafael Trujillocame to power in 1930 and quickly sought to consolidate control over the national economy. While not a baseball fan himself, his family were avid baseball fans, and, seeking to bolster his regime, he acquired Licey.
In 1936, the
Estrellas Orientalesof San Pedro de Macoris defeated Licey in the national championship. Afterwards, Trujillo merged Licey and Escogido into one team, the Ciudad Trujillo Dragones. To counter this, San Pedro signed the three top players from the Negro Leaguepowerhouse Pittsburgh Crawfords-pitcher Satchel Paige, catcher Josh Gibsonand centre fielder Cool Papa Bell—but, upon arriving in the country, they were detained by Trujillo and forced to suit up for the Dragones. Santiago's Aguilas Cibaenaslater signed several Cuban Negro Leagueplayers, including pitcher Luis Tiant, Sr. (father of the Red Sox pitcher of the same name) and pitcher/outfielder Martín Dihigo. The Dragones defeated Santiago and San Pedro to win the 1937 championship, but the vast amounts of money used to finance the season bankrupted the other owners, and ended professional baseball in the Dominican Republic for ten years. Attention shifted to the amateur national teams the country assembled, using a unit of the Dominican army as Trujillo's personal farm club. The first wave of Dominican ballplayers to play professionally in the Major Leagues, including Ozzie Virgil, Sr., the Alou brothers—Felipe, Matty and Jesus—and Hall-of-Fame pitcher Juan Marichalemerged from Trujillo's amateur teams.
Professional baseball resumed in 1951 as a winter league of the U.S. Major Leagues, with the old alignment still in place. In 1955, construction was completed on Santo Domingo's
Estadio Quisqueya, shared home to rivals Tigres de Liceyand Leones de Escogido. This alignment has largely remained intact, although an expansion team in San Francisco de Macoríswas founded in 1996. Licey and Aguilas have been the most successful teams in the Dominican Winter League, both winning nineteen titles. Their fierce rivalry reflects the competition between the countries two main cities, the capital of Santo Domingoand Santiago, the largest city and unofficial capital of the northern part of the country. Leones de Escogidohave won twelve titles, although none since 1992.
Baseball was introduced in
Japanin 1872 and is currently among the country's most popular sports. The first professional competitions emerged in the 1920s. The current league, Nippon Professional Baseball, consists of two leagues of 6 teams each. The country's national team has also been successful, having won two Olympic medals (bronze and silver), while the World Championships team never placed worse than 5th in its 13 appearances, winning second place once and third place three times. Recently, several Japanese players have also entered the U.S. major leagues, such as Hideo Nomo, Kazuhiro Sasaki, Ichiro Suzuki, Hideki Matsui, Kazuo Matsui, Tadahito Iguchi, Kenji Johjima, and most recently Daisuke Matsuzaka, who made headlines for the $51m transfer fee he incurred in his move from the Seibu Lionsto the Boston Red Sox. Most recently, Japan defeated Cuba to become champion of the first World Baseball Classicon March 20, 2006in San Diego.
A missionary, P. Gillett, introduced baseball in the late nineteenth century. The
Korean Baseball Organizationstarted in 1982 with six teams, and now has eight teams in it. Several Korean players now play in the U.S. major leagues, mostly pitchers. The most famous among them are Park Chan Ho, Kim Byung Hyun, and Choi Hee Seop.
Baseball was introduced to Taiwan by Japan after China ceded control of the island to Japan in 1895. Initially played only by Japanese colonial administrators, by the 1920s interest in the sport spread across the island with games between Taiwanese natives and Japanese immigrants becoming common. In 1931, the Chiayi School of Agriculture and Forestry took second place in the Pan-Japanese High School Yakyu Tournament.
World War IIand the reassertion of Chinese control over Taiwan, baseball became marginalized in popularity because of its association with Japan. But along with post-war stability during the 1950s and 1960s, interest in baseball rebounded with the spread of amateur and youth baseball teams. Between 1969and 1982, Taiwan won 13 Little League World Serieschampionships.
In 1984, Taiwan took the bronze medal at the Los Angeles Olympics where baseball was played as an exhibition sport, and in
1992Taiwan won Silver in Barcelona.
In 1990, the
Chinese Professional Baseball League(中華職棒聯盟) was formed, bringing professional baseball to the country for the first time. In 1997, however, a gamblingscandal sent the CPBL into disrepute. Following the scandal, the Taiwan Major League(臺灣大聯盟) was launched, splitting the audience for baseball. For the 2003season, the two leagues agreed to merge under the CPBL name. As of 2004, the league consists of the Brother Elephants, Chinatrust Whales, La New Bears, Macoto Cobras, Sinon Bulls, and Uni-President Lions.
A handful of Taiwanese players are in the U.S. major and minor leagues, including
Hong-Chih Kuoand Chien-Ming Wang.
Baseball has become so entrenched in Taiwanese culture that it is even depicted on the NT$ 500 note. [http://126.96.36.199/banknotes/taiwan/ChinaTaiwanP1992-500Yuan-2000-donatedsb_f.jpg] , [http://www.sinobanknote.com/show_single.php?language=english&type=twd&series=1999&pick=P1993]
Baseball in the
Middle Eastcan be broken up into two areas: youth baseball and adult baseball.
While Saudi Arabia has seen some minor success in the many entries they have sent to the
Little League World Seriestheir participants are almost exclusively American expatriates and children of the multi-national oil companies like Aramco. Adult baseball on a competitive level is virtually non-existent.
United Arab Emiratesand Saudi Arabiaboth send teams to compete in the Trans-Atlantic division of the Little League World Series European playoffs. The teams in this division are required to be majority foreign passportholders and, as in Europe, are the children of U.S. Military personal who play in Leagues on U.S. military bases in Europe. Israelhas a baseball program that has seen participation in European Championships for over 20 years. Recently Israel finished third place in the 2006 CEB Juvenile Championships. Historically, baseball in Israel has been dominated by American immigrants, although the last several years has seen a gradual increase in home-grown talent drawn from the youth programs.
2007 saw the first professional baseball league in the Middle East when the
Israel Baseball League(IBL) opened with 6 teams each playing a modified 45 game schedule. The Beit Shemesh Blue Soxwent wire to wire to win the innagural championship. With well known baseball professionals like Dan Duquetteon board, the IBL solidified itself as the top Pro League in the European Theatre. The league drafted a mix of minor league and collegiate ballplayers, experienced Jewishballplayers, some international imports and each team had native born Israeli players. Several of the IBL's players were drafted by Major League teams at the conclusion of the season.
A European federation, the Confédération Européenne de Baseball (CEB, European Baseball Confederation) was founded in
1953. The federation organises all international competitions within Europe. These are the European Championships for country teams, divided into two divisions, and a number of club competitions: the European Cup, the Club Winners' Cup and the CEB Cup.
All of the European competitions have been dominated by only two countries:
Italyand the Netherlands. They share 25 of the 27 European titles between them, the other titles being won by Belgiumand Spain, both times in absence of one or two of the two usual winners, but these countries have medalled regularly as well. Other countries that are among the top players in Europe are Russia, Franceand the Czech Republic. Most of the club titles have also been won by Dutch or Italian teams.
Baseball was introduced to the UK in 1890 in
Derbyby 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.
Baseball's peak popularity in Britain was in the years immediately preceding
World War II. Baseball teams shared grounds with football clubs (hence Derby County's home ground was named the Baseball Ground), 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. There is currently no professional baseball in the United Kingdom.
An unusual variation of the game, known as
British Baseballis played in parts of Englandand Wales. It involves 11 players per team and shares some terminology with cricket.
One of the two major European baseball nations, the
Netherlandssaw baseball for the first time shortly after 1900. A baseball federation (the KNBSB) was founded in 1912, and the Holland Serieswas established in 1922, the first winner being A.H.C. Quick from Amsterdam. Today, an eight team professional league, the Honkbal Hoofdklasse(Major League Baseball) sends its teams to the Holland Series.
The Netherlands have won 15 European Championship titles, and participated in the Olympics twice, finishing fifth in Summer Olympics after upsetting the Cuban team. At the World Championships, a 4th position has been the best achievement so far. Some of the players in the Dutch team are actually from the
Netherlands Antilles. Four Dutch players have played in the Major Leagues, the most notable of whom is 287 game winner Bert Blyleven. Andruw Jonesis from the Netherlands Antilles. The "World Port Tournament" and the "Haarlemse Honkbalweek" are biannual international tournaments for national and club teams, organised in the cities of Rotterdamand Haarlem, respectively.
Italian league competition did not start until after
World War II, as Bolognawon the first title in 1948. The Italian team has won 8 European titles, among which the very first title, and the team has fought out many finals with archrival the Netherlands. Because of the large number of Americans of Italian descent, there are always a few players in the national team with double nationality, the most notable of which is catcher Mike Piazza. The Italian national team have competed at all three Olympics, finished 6th twice. Best World Championships showing was a fourth place, in 1998.
Baseball began relatively early in
Spainthanks to the descendants of returnee immigrants from Cuba. They brought the sport along with them when Cuba ceased to be a Spanish Colony. The heyday of baseball in Spain was in the 1950s and 1960s; many teams were created, including junior teams, and public interest was high. [ [http://www.rfebeisbolsofbol.com/salonfama/museo/frsala05.htm Pictures of Spanish baseball teams during the golden age of baseball in Spain] ] ] But because of the growing mass-interest in football (soccer), most baseball clubs didn't survive into the 1970s. The Spanish public's massive shift in focus was triggered mainly by the introduction of multiple TV channels that focused mainly on the soccer matches of " La Liga", the professional First Division Spanish League.
One of the few survivors of that fateful decade for Spanish Baseball was the
Club Beisbol Viladecans. Its field was officially used during the 1992 Summer Olympics.Presently the Spanish baseball league is divided into divisions. The top teams play in the División de Honor de Beisbol.
Australiaand New Zealand, some of the island nations in the Pacifichave baseball federations, especially those with American or Japanese backgrounds, such as Guamor Saipan. The only country from the region which has participated in major international competitions is Australia.
The first baseball game in
Australiawas played in 1857fact|date=June 2008. At the end of the 19th century, Americans also tried to set up baseball leagues and competitions in Australia, with some success. A national league was initiated in 1934, and the national team entered World Championship competition in the late 1970s. Prior to winning the silver medal at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, Australia had finished 7th in the Olympics twice, which is also the highest position reached in World Championships.
A national-level competition still exists, as well as lower-level club competitions, but the game attracts comparatively little spectator or media interest. Several Australians, however, have attracted the attention of American scouts and have gone on to play in the major leagues in the United States and Japan.
Albert Spalding's team of All-Stars in 1888 is the first known baseball game played in New Zealand. Since that time, various local competitions have existed, but it wasn't until 1989 that the New Zealand Baseball Association was formed, consisting of teams in the Auckland area. It would be 14 more years before baseball would venture out of Auckland with the creation of the Canterbury Baseball Club in 2003. 2006 saw the Northland Baseball Club and the Manawatu Baseball Club form.
New Zealand competes in Baseball Confederation of Oceania (BCO) events, most recently the AA Oceania championships. New Zealand also sends a senior team each year to Australia to compete in the Australian Provincial Championship.
A number of New Zealanders are playing professionally in the United States. Scott Campbell was the first New Zealander drafted in the MLB draft, when he was selected in the 10th round by the Toronto Blue Jays in 2006. [ [http://www.canterburybaseball.co.nz/Story.php?n_id=15 Baseball in New Zealand] ]
List of organized baseball leagues
Peter C. Bjarkman, "Diamonds around the Globe: The Encyclopedia of International Baseball" (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 2005). ISBN 0313322686.
* Gmelch, George (Editor). "Baseball without Borders: The International Pastime". Lincoln, Nebraska: Bison Books, 2006. ISBN 0803271255.
* McNeil, William F. "Baseball's Other All-Stars: The Greatest Players from the Negro Leagues, the Japanese Leagues, the Mexican League, and the Pre-1960 Winter Leagues in Cuba, Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic". Jefferson, N.C.: McFarland & Company, 2000. ISBN 0786407840.
* Reaves, Joseph A. "Taking in a Game: A History of Baseball in Asia". Lincoln, Nebraska: Bison Books, 2002. ISBN 0803290012.
* Yu, Junwei. "Playing in Isolation: A History of Baseball in Taiwan". Lincoln, Nebraska: University of Nebraska Press, 2007. ISBN 0803211406.
* [http://www.baseball.ch International Baseball Federation]
* [http://www.baseballeurope.com/ Confédération Européenne de Baseball]
* [http://www.beisbolprofesional.net/ Beisbol Profesional Argentina]
* [http://www.baseball.com.au/ Australian Baseball Federation]
* [http://www.baseball.org.nz/ New Zealand Baseball Federation]
* [http://www.beisbolchile.cl/ Federación de Béisbol de Chile]
* [http://www.beisbolcubano.cu/home/ Cuban Baseball Federation] (in Spanish)
* [http://www.beisboldecuba.com/ Béisbol de Cuba]
* [http://www.koreabaseball.com/ Korea Baseball Organization]
* [http://www.npb.or.jp/ Nippon Professional Baseball (Japan)]
* [http://www.lmb.com.mx/ Liga Mexicana De Beisbol]
* [http://www.ibw.com.ni/~beisnica/ Campeonato Nacional de Béisbol de Nicaragua]
* [http://www.ebaseballpr.com/ Liga de Béisbol Profesional de Puerto Rico]
* [http://www.cpbl.com.tw/ Chinese Professional Baseball League (Taiwan)]
* [http://www.lvbp.com/ Liga Venezolana de Béisbol Profesional]
* [http://www.fibs.it/ Federazione Italiana di Baseball e Softball]
* [http://weltchmedia.com/baseball.html/ Welsh Baseball Union]
* [http://http://www.lidom.com/ Liga de Beisbol Profesional de la Republica Dominicana]
* [http://www.baseballfinland.com/ Suomen Baseball- ja Softball-liitto (Finnish Baseball and Softball Federation)]
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History of baseball in the United States — National League Baltimore Orioles, 1896 Part of the Baseball series on … Wikipedia
The United States — United States of America Vereinigte Staaten von Amerika … Deutsch Wikipedia
Society of the United States — The society or culture of the United States is a Western culture, and has been developing since long before the United States became a country with its own unique characteristics and developments such as dialect, music, arts, cuisine, etc. Today… … Wikipedia
Major professional sports leagues in the United States and Canada — Major Leagues redirects here. For other meanings of Major League or Major Leagues see Major League (disambiguation). The major professional sports leagues, or simply major leagues, in the United States and Canada are the highest professional… … Wikipedia
Major professional sports leagues of the United States and Canada — Major professional sports league, or simply major league, is the term used in Canada and the United States to refer to the highest professional division in any team sport. The term major league was first used in 1921 in reference to Major League… … Wikipedia
Culture of the United States — Enthusiastic crowds at the inaugural running of the United States Grand Prix at Indianapolis The Culture of the United States is a Western culture, having been originally influenced by European cultures. It has been developing since long before… … Wikipedia
Education in the United States — of America U.S. Department of Education Secretary Deputy Secretary Arne Duncan Anthony Miller … Wikipedia
Soccer in the United States — Soccer (association football), known simply as football in many countries [See the articles Football (word) and Names for association football for more detailed explanations of the differing names for soccer.] , has long been a popular sport in… … Wikipedia
Native Americans in the United States — This article is about the indigenous people of the United States. For other indigenous people see Indigenous peoples by geographic regions Native Americans … Wikipedia
National Guard of the United States — For the National Guard of a State and other countries National Guard, see National Guard (disambiguation). For the American Civil War regiment, see 11th New York Volunteer Infantry Regiment. National Guard of the United States … Wikipedia