Home British baseball Eight men in

Eight men in

by Joe Gray

One of the real joys of going to baseball games in this country – particularly if you are relatively new to the sport like me – is listening to the anecdotes of people who have been involved in the British game for a good chunk of time. With the notable exception of Jeff Archer’s Strike Four, very few anecdotes have been recorded in print (the game reports that have been published in newspapers and remain available in archives tend to contain nothing more than match facts, very possibly because only a few column inches are available to baseball in this country). Therefore, oral anecdotes really serve a valuable purpose.

One such story I heard this year was about a team called the Caterham Athletics, who played a season in the mid-to-late 1990s in the British league with only eight players (that’s a two man outfield with an automatic out in the #9 spot). As the season progressed and the inevitable niggling injuries cropped up, the infield (where a relatively smaller fielding range is required) began to pick itself. By the end of the season the players at first, second, third, and shortstop each had a different leg injury; but the same eight players turned out in every game. The best thing is that the team did not disgrace themselves. My memory of the anecdote is a bit fuzzy here, but I think I was told that they finished with an 8-8 record. However, that could have just been because I have the number eight on the brain.

Of course by documenting this here, the oral anecdote becomes something preserved for as long as the cogs at internet HQ keep on turning.

If I can get some more details about this story I will fill them in here. Better still, if you the reader can help with this or would like to share other anecdotes, then please add a comment to this post.

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Mike England March 15, 2017 - 9:53 pm

I played for the Caterham A’s all those years ago Joe, great bunch of lads, sadly lost touch but must reach out to catch up. Indeed we could regularly only field 8 players (i played 3rd base) . We all loved the game, rarely missed a game, practiced every week, had to mow our own infield and outfield. Some of my happiest memories, great times…

Kevin mceneaney May 18, 2017 - 7:53 pm

Me (Kev mac pitcher) (Gary Cope first base) Alf higson second base) started the catercaterham A’ s many yrs ago. I still see copy and Alf every couple of week and we sometimes reminisce about the baseball days. it started with us 3 playing catch,we roped all r mates into it. We would regularly play the Croydon pirate’s and get are arses whipped by them as they had been playing it a lot longer than us. We got a kit and all the gear we played in the Oakland athletics colors joined the league and started to improve we got better the more we played I remember mike England when he joined us great bloke ( had a nice car to I remember) good laughs we all had. We would play behind the fox pub me copy Alf built the mound. We nicked some netting, scaffold poles, to make a back stop 😂 the early team as far as I can remember was me. copy. Alf. Shane Fletcher. Dolly hill. sean mac ( brother). Robbo. dave Flynn. steve Flynn. John cop. alex. Be nice 2 hear from u Mike I’m on linked in kevin mceneaney.


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