Remembering 1938—when English Baseball was top of the world!

Tue 7 Aug 2018

Eighty years ago, an England baseball team was the World Champion!

It may be hard to believe, and it may be something buried in the dusty vaults of baseball history, but 80 years ago, in August 1938, an England Baseball Team won a series of games against an American team on British soil that led to Britain being crowned – somewhat retrospectively -- as Baseball World Amateur Champions.

That historic series, a best-of-five affair, was played between 13 and 19 August 1938 across the north of England – in Liverpool, Hull, Rochdale, Halifax and Leeds.  By the time the fourth game ended, Britain were ahead three games to one and had clinched the series.  But following the example of cricketTtest matches, the fifth game was played anyway, and Britain won that game as well.

The American team was in fact a team of non-professional players selected to represent the USA in the 1940 Olympics – an Olympics that was never held because the start of the Second World War intervened.

The British team – some things change and some things stay the same – didn’t have a lot of homegrown British players.  But they had no Americans – their overseas players were from British dominions such as Canada, and were mostly playing in the professional leagues that flourished in the north of England before the war.


During the week beginning on 13 August 2018 – which corresponds exactly to when that historic series was played 80 years ago – we’ll be celebrating Great Britain’s only baseball World Championship on the BaseballSoftballUK website with a series of articles, historic photographs and podcasts that will shed more light on this fascinating and little-known episode in the history of our favourite game.

On Monday, we’ll we’ll reproduce a story summing up the series, written for The Observer newspaper some years ago by former GB player and British baseball historian Josh Chetwynd. present the full story of the World Championship series in an article written by British baseball stalwart Ian Smyth.

On Tuesday, we’ll present the full story of the World Championship series in an article written by British baseball stalwart Ian Smyth.

On Wednesday, we’ll upload the latest Touching Base podcast which will feature baseball historian and former GB player Josh Chetwynd, who some viewers will know from his work on Channel 5’s original baseball coverage in the early naughties.  Josh and host Luke Stott will talk about the origins of what was known as the International Test Series, some of the stars of the series, and how the series became known as the World Cup.

On Thursday, we’ll look at one of the pivotal figures in the 1938 series, England pitcher Ross Kendrick, and through him at the British baseball scene in the years before World War II.

Finally, on Friday, we’ll present a special edition of the Touching Base podcast with a discussion about the past and future of baseball in the UK.  Host Luke Stott will be joined once more by Josh Chetwynd to discuss the history of the game on these shores before Batflips and Nerds’ Ben Carter calls in to chat about what the MLB London Series might mean for the domestic game.

We hope you’ll check out the BSUK website ( all that week to follow the events of 80 years ago and their implications for British baseball in our own time.

Back to news listing


Commenting is not available in this channel entry.


Get in the Game

Sign-up with the BBF to PLAY BASEBALL

Sign-up with the BSF to PLAY SOFTBALL

Aswani advert 2019 - banner
Hot Corner Signup Form
Follow Us