British Baseball (Welsh Baseball)
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|Game||British Baseball (Welsh Baseball)|
|Location||Wales and England|
This adult game, sometimes referred to as Welsh Baseball (in Wales) and English Baseball (ii Liverpool England), has been played since the early 1900s, reportedly reaching a high point in the late 1930s. Something of a blend of modern baseball with some cricket features, it is known in Liverpool England and in Cardiff and Newport in Wales.
Owing to cricket, presumably, the game has no foul ground, comprises two (all-out-side-out) innings, teams of 11 players, and flat bats. 42-inch posts are used instead of bases. Underarm pitching is required. Runs are counted for each base attained by a batter (one run for a single, two for a double, etc.). Batters are required to keep a foot in contact with a peg in the batting area.
An annual "international game" has been played between a Liverpool team and one from Wales. In the 1920s crowds of over 10,000 were reported to attend the international context.
Martin Johnes writes that both the Liverpool game and the Welsh game likely evolved from rounders, with some local variation. In 1927 they agreed to common rules for their international game; Liverpool had restricted the placement of batters' feet and used one-handed batting, while Wales saw two-handed batting and less restricted batter placement.
Liverpool had been very active in rounders in the 19th century, they and the Welsh but switched to use the term "baseball" in 1892, possibly to distinguish the adult game from juvenile rounders play. A common set of rules was agreed to between the two governing groups in 1927.
Adult play in Liverpool is not thriving: from the website of the English Baseball Association, accessed 4/1/2016: "Sadly the game in Liverpool is in a very poor state and we have very few senior teams remaining.The junior game is where our game needs to grow and we still need to get a bit more interest as we try to generate interest with the youth in the Liverpool area.
Andrew Weltch, "British Baseball: How a Curious Version of the Game Survives in Parts of England and Wales, The National Pastime, (SABR) volume 28 (2008), pages 34-38.
Martin Johnes, "'Poor Man's Cricket': Baseball, Class and Community in South Wales, c.1880-1950, Internationial Journal of the History of Sport, volume 17, number 4 (December 2000), online at http://www.welshbaseball.co.uk/history/history/journal/.
The rules of British Baseball are found on the Protoball site at http://protoball.org/British_Baseball.
Query: Are the original rules of Welch baseball and Liverpool baseball known from the time before common rules were written in 1927?
"Back hitting" is disallowed: is this the intentional hitting of the ball backward?
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