Baseball in Ireland

The first baseball game in Ireland was held in Dublin in 1874.[1] Today, children and adults play baseball throughout the country.[2]

HistoryEdit

The first baseball game in Ireland was played in 1874, when the Boston Red Stockings played the Philadelphia Athletics in Dublin.[3]

In 1942 and 1943, several games were played in Belfast among teams of US servicemen.[4]

The first organized baseball team in Ireland was the Tramore Sea Lions.[5] The Sea Lions were a youth team in Tramore, County Waterford. The team was organized and coached by local businessman Clive Butterworth.[6]

 
Tramore Sea Lions, 1958

The success of the Tramore Sea Lions in the local community soon led to the creation of the Waterford Walruses, a team based in nearby Waterford City. In 1962, Clive Butterworth brought two United States Air Force baseball teams to Waterford for an exhibition game. The game was played on Waterford GAA grounds.

 
Baseball program from an exhibition baseball game in Waterford, Ireland, September 1962.

Butterworth brought baseball to Dublin in the early 1960s, bringing the total number of Irish baseball teams to three.

Within a few years, Butterworth’s declining health led to the end of organized baseball in Ireland for nearly three decades.

In 2019, the Irish American Baseball Society and Irish American Baseball Hall of Fame announced the creation of the Clive Butterworth Award.[7] The award recognizes outstanding volunteer service among youth baseball coaches in Ireland.

Ireland's National Baseball TeamEdit

Ireland played its first game in international competition in 1996 against the Czech Republic, losing by a score of 23-2.[8] Since then Ireland has gone on to win a bronze in 2004 in Germany, a silver in Belgium in 2006 at the European Pool B Baseball Championships and the gold in Ireland in 2018 in the European Pool C Baseball Championships. Ireland's national team, although only ten years old, has won at least one game in every tournament it has entered including 1996, in Kingston upon Hull.

The Emerald Diamond, a documentary film released in 2006, chronicled the history of baseball in Ireland and the Irish National Baseball Team.

Irish Baseball LeagueEdit

Although the existence of baseball in Ireland is not widely known, the game has been played there since the early 1990s. What began with a few friends playing pickup games on football and rugby fields in Dublin and Greystones, soon grew into a small league.[9]

In the years since, baseball has spread throughout Ireland, and is currently[when?] played in Ashbourne, Clones, Cork, Shankhill, Greystones, Dublin and Belfast.[citation needed]

The Irish Baseball League was founded in 1997. Participating teams come from Dublin, Ashbourne, Belfast, Clones and Greystones. Baseball Ireland is the governing body of baseball on the island of Ireland, covering both Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.[10]

 
Aerial view of O'Malley Fields in Dublin, Ireland

Competing TeamsEdit

Team Name Location Home Field Divisions
Ashbourne Giants Ashbourne, County Meath International Baseball Centre A, B
Ashbourne Stags Ashbourne, County Meath International Baseball Centre B
Belfast Buccaneers Belfast, Northern Ireland Hydebank Playing Fields B
Belfast Northstars Belfast, Northern Ireland Hydebank Playing Fields A
Clones Comets Clones, County Monaghan Peace Link B
Cork Cosmos Cork, County Cork Cork Showgrounds B
Dublin Spartans Clondalkin, County Dublin O'Malley Fields A, B
Dublin City Hurricanes Clondalkin, County Dublin O'Malley Fields A, B
Greystones Mariners Shankill, County Dublin Shanganagh Park A, B

Irish national teamEdit

The Irish National Baseball Team has been in existence since 1996 and has taken part in several major baseball tournaments and tours.

CompetitionEdit

The Irish National Baseball Team won its first bronze medal at the 2004 European Championships in Germany. In August 2006, the Irish National Baseball Team won the silver medal at the European Championships held in Antwerp, Belgium. They also competed in the European championships held in Vienna in Austria, Stockholm, Karlovac, Abranches, Antwerp, Barcelona and Ljubljana.

In 2018, the Irish National Baseball Team won the gold medal at the European Baseball Championship tournament held at the International Baseball Centre in Ashbourne, County Meath. By winning, the team advanced to the next round of Olympic qualifying in 2019.[11]

Youth baseballEdit

The Irish cadet team (13–18) played in a Dutch tournament held in Alphen aan den Rijn Netherlands. In this competition they came home with a bronze medal but also much experience gained from the club BSC Alphians who won the tournament. Amsterdam Pirates got the runners-up prize.

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Protoball https://protoball.org/Philadelphia_Athletics_v_Boston_Red_Stockings_on_24_August_1874. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  2. ^ Baseball Ireland https://baseballireland.ie/about-us/. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  3. ^ Protoball https://protoball.org/Philadelphia_Athletics_v_Boston_Red_Stockings_on_24_August_1874. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  4. ^ Wartime NI https://wartimeni.com/article/baseball-northern-ireland/. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  5. ^ Irish American Baseball Society https://irishbaseball.org/the-history-of-baseball-in-ireland-1958-1965/. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  6. ^ Irish American Baseball Society https://irishbaseball.org/the-clive-butterworth-award/. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  7. ^ The Rockaway Wave https://www.rockawave.com/articles/iabhof-announces-2019-inductees/. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  8. ^ Chetwynd, Josh (16 July 2008). Baseball in Europe: A Country by Country History. McFarland. ISBN 9780786451753 – via Google Books.
  9. ^ McGeady, Andrew. "Take me out to the ballpark: how to follow baseball in Ireland".
  10. ^ "Baseball a growing favorite sport in Ireland". 17 January 2014.
  11. ^ Tuesday; July 31; Am, 2018-05:20 (2018-07-31). "Irish baseball stars now target Olympic qualification". www.irishexaminer.com. Retrieved 2018-12-30.CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)

External linksEdit