Part of the History of baseball series.
Baseball, as it is known today, was introduced to the United Kingdom in 1890 by Francis Ley, a Derby man who had discovered the game on a trip to the United States, and Albert Goodwill Spalding an American sporting goods businessman who saw opportunities to expand his business across the Atlantic.
Baseball's peak popularity in Britain was in the years immediately preceding World War II. Baseball teams shared grounds with football clubs (hence Derby County Football Club’s home ground was named the Baseball Ground), and the game was run at a professional standard with up to 10,000 spectators per game.
Today, there are more than 40 baseball teams and 875 adult players, ranging geographically from Cambridge to Liverpool, Southampton to Edinburgh.
There have been numerous league formats and governing bodies since 1890. Beginning in 1987, the British Baseball Federation (BBF) has governed the baseball leagues. Baseball clubs pay annual affiliation fees to be a member of the BBF and play in the BBF Leagues and Junior Leagues. There is also a full Great Britain Baseball Programme which comprises the Great Britain Baseball Academy, junior national teams and Great Britain 'Seniors' Baseball Team.
Since 2000, BaseballSoftballUK (BSUK), the development agency for baseball and softball in the United Kingdom has provided services to the British Baseball Federation (BBF) with the aim of developing and increasing the levels of participation, skill and achievement in UK baseball and softball. This occurs at both junior and adult levels, from school and grassroots through domestic adult clubs up to the Great Britain national teams.
There are currently three tiers in the national game.
The season runs from April until August.