History – A Summary
The sport we now know as Welsh (or, more accurately, British) baseball dates back to 1892, when the English and Welsh governing bodies changed the name from ‘rounders’ to reflect more accurately the demanding, high-speed nature of the sport.
Rounders had become a popular spectator and participant sport for men, as well as women and children, through the 19th century, especially in South Wales, Merseyside, Gloucestershire, Scotland and Ireland
However, baseball has roots in Britain which predate those of rounders. There are literary references to ‘base ball’ in Britain as long ago as 1744, when the children’s publication A Little Pretty Pocket-Book tells us “The ball once struck off, Away flies the boy, to the next destin’d post, then home with joy”..
Although contests between teams from different areas took place, there was no agreed set of rules until the 20th century. The first representative international match between Wales and England was held in Cardiff, at the Harlequins Playing Fields – now home of St. Peter’s RFC, in 1908.
Unified rules were formalised in 1927 with the formation of the International Baseball Board, which remains the sport’s governing body, with representatives from the Welsh Baseball Union and the Liverpool-based English Baseball Association.
The game now remains in its heartlands of Cardiff, Newport and Liverpool and whilst there may not be the 8 or so divisions playing in the 80’s, the passion of the game remains at the heart of the game for those who play and play a part in the game.
Welsh baseball and American baseball are both bat and ball games but with different rules of play. They are often considered to have their origins in an early form of rounders found in England, where specialists have discovered what is known as the earliest reference to a game. American baseball games can be found on betway sports baseball. In 1749 a game of “bass-ball”, as it was called, took place played by none other than the Prince of Wales and the Earl of Middlesex, the game featured a soft ball and instead of a wooden bat, the palm was used to hit.
Read a more in depth account of the gamehere in an academic account by Martin Johnes of Swansea University. Many thanks to Mr Johnes for allowing the WBU to reproduce his article.