A Classic Baseball Road Trip around the World; How a Nation's Pastime Became a Game for a Globe

The Washington Times (Washington, DC), March 17, 2006 | Go to article overview

A Classic Baseball Road Trip around the World; How a Nation's Pastime Became a Game for a Globe


Byline: Thom Loverro, THE WASHINGTON TIMES

The passenger on the flight from Rome to Palermo eyed him for a while and finally said, "Miguel Piazza with the Mets, no?"

Mike Piazza, indeed a star of the New York Mets at the time, was used to being recognized in the United States. But he was surprised to be noticed in Italy, a country where baseball remains a novelty at best.

The inaugural World Baseball Classic, a 16-team international competition that includes major league players, is an effort to change that and to take the game beyond the status of curiosity that it still holds in most countries. But it is hardly the first effort.

The export of America's pastime around the globe in the past 150 years has been, for the most part, as accidental as the chance encounter at an Italian airport, the result of happenstance and haphazard ventures - students studying abroad, traveling baseball circus acts, missionaries doing good works, refugees fleeing civil war, U.S. troops stationed around the globe.

"There have been various stages where baseball has been exported," said Bert Sugar, a baseball historian and the author of "The Baseball Maniac's Almanac." "It took root in some places, but not in others."

One place where it did early was Australia, where American merchant Samuel Perkins Lord arrived in 1853. The first game on record, between Collingwood and Richmond, was played four years later.

The game they played - apparently some sort of combination of baseball and cricket - wouldn't be recognized by Piazza. Final score in the three-inning affair: Collingwood 350, Richmond 230.

By the time of the country's first Intercolonial series in 1889, many teams had formed and scores had descended from the earlier, head-spinning heights: South Australia won the final game of the series 27-18.

It was money that brought baseball to another part of the world a few years later.

Gold was discovered in South Africa in the late 1800s, touching off a rush that drew thousands of workers from abroad - a contingent of Americans among them - and turned the small settlement of Johannesburg into the largest city in the country.

The common belief - the early history of the sport often is murky - is that American miners working in the Crown Mine and City Deep shafts in the Witwatersrand gold fields and outside of Johannesburg, played baseball in their leisure time. The locals eventually joined in, and the game caught on.

Coming home

In Cuba, a young man named Nemesio Guillot left his homeland around 1860 to attend Spring Hill College, a small Jesuit school in Mobile, Ala. There Guillot observed his fellow students playing a new game with a bat and ball and took an interest.

Guillot brought equipment back to Cuba in 1864 and introduced his friends to the game. Guillot's brother, Ernesto, and another Cuban also went to Spring Hill and played the game there.

When Ernesto Guillot returned home, the brothers formed a team in 1868 called the Habana Baseball Club. One of the games they played is thought to have been against a crew of American sailors anchored at the Matanzas harbor, a game won by Habana.

The first organized game in Cuba, however, didn't occur until Dec. 27, 1874, at Palmar de Junco. Habana played a team from Matanzas in a game that was called after seven innings because of darkness with Habana leading 51-9.

Cubans later helped spread the game through the region. Refugees from a civil war on the island fled to the Dominican Republic to work in the sugar cane industry and took the game with them. Cubans also spread it to Puerto Rico.

Telling tales

The best tale of origin lore, though, belongs to Mexico.

America entered into a war with Mexico over California and other western territories in 1846. Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna, the Mexican general who had attacked the Alamo 10 years earlier and subsequently was defeated by Sam Houston, was president of the country. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

A Classic Baseball Road Trip around the World; How a Nation's Pastime Became a Game for a Globe
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.