British Baseball and the West Ham Club

History of a 1930s Professional Team in East London


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SKU: 9780786425945 Categories: ,

About the Book

Few people associate baseball with Great Britain, but for a brief period in the 1930s, America’s pastime nearly gained a foothold with the British populace. Though never as popular as the beloved football clubs, or even greyhound races, baseball teams like the West Ham Hammers developed intense local followings, and played some excellent baseball—in 1936, the Hammers defeated the U.S. Olympic team. The outbreak of World War II ended the rising popularity of baseball among Britons, but speculation remains that, under different circumstances, British baseball could have flourished.
This book traces the history of baseball as a popular British sport, concentrating on one particularly successful and notable team, the West Ham Hammers. It places the West Ham club within the historical context of 1930s Great Britain, and covers team management, major players (e.g., Roland Gladu, the “Canadian Babe Ruth”), and the fans, many of whom still cling fondly to faded memories of the club and West Ham Stadium. Eight appendices include team rosters, British baseball rules, and year-by-year records from 1890 to 2005.

About the Author(s)

Josh Chetwynd is an award winning journalist who has served as a staff reporter for USA Today, The Hollywood Reporter and U.S. News & World Report. A former professional baseball player in the United Sates and Europe, he broadcasted baseball in the United Kingdom on both television for Channel Five and on radio for the BBC. He currently lives in Denver, Colorado.
Brian A. Belton is a senior lecturer at the YMCA George Williams College in London, England. He lives in London.

Bibliographic Details

Josh Chetwynd and Brian A. Belton
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 272
Bibliographic Info: 37 photos, appendices, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2007
pISBN: 978-0-7864-2594-5
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments      vii

Preface      1

Introduction      5

The Big Bang of British Baseball      9

Sir John Takes the Mound      31

Mining for Passion      47

The Wisdom of L.D. Wood      57

The Birth of West Ham Baseball      71

Sizing Up the Competition      81

The Hammers Start Hammering      105

The Olympians      119

London’s Pride      132

The Canadian Babe      142

Custom House Days      158

Aftermath of Apotheosis: From Anticlimax to Accession      175

West Ham Baseball’s Legacy      182

Appendices      205

Notes      245

Bibliography      251

Index      257

Book Reviews & Awards

“at last we have a detailed account of the brief period in British baseball history…excellent”—Baseball in Wartime.