British Baseball and the West Ham Club: History of a 1930s Professional Team in East London

British Baseball and the West Ham Club: History of a 1930s Professional Team in East London

by Josh Chetwynd, Brian A. Belton




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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780786425945
Publisher: McFarland & Company, Incorporated Publishers
Publication date: 12/15/2006
Pages: 272
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.54(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

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.

Table of Contents

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

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See All Customer Reviews

British Baseball and the West Ham Club: History of a 1930s Professional Team in East London 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
rocketjk on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A very interesting work on the history, not just of the West Ham "Hammers," but of the entire history of baseball in England, starting with the attempts to start professional leagues in the 1890. The writing is good if not great, and the subject matter is of interest to baseball history enthusiasts only, I suppose, but within that context a very good book to read.