Vintage Sports
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1894 London Baseball Association Season Pass Ticket
Season Pass for the Inaugural Year, 1894, of the London Baseball Association.   
Games were played at the new baseball park at Hyde Farm, in Balham.  The first game was played May 10th, 1894.
On this ticket is written, “Baseball Park, Hyde Farm, Balham, May First" - when it was issued.
                                                                                      1894 London Baseball Association - Inaugural Year

  • Baseball was first introduced to England in 1874, when the Boston Red Stockings and Philadelphia athletics played a game while on tour.
  • In 1889, the National Baseball League of Great Britain was formed by Newton Crane.  Rowdiness led to the dissolution of the league after one season.
  • In 1890, the Baseball Association of Great Britain and Ireland was formed to oversee the amateur game.
  • In 1891, the impetus for Baseball in London came from minstrel Richard G. Knowles, and small group of fellow American music-hall artists.
  • In 1893, Knowles’ team, the Clapham Common Nine, re-christened themselves the Thespians and joined the National Baseball Association of England.

    In 1894, under the guidance of Newton Crane, Richard G. Knowles helped found the London Baseball Association.  R.G. Knowles was an American comedian and musician
    who was an avid athlete and early heavy promoter of baseball in London. His team, the Thespians, for which he was player-manager, was one of England’s first dominant
    teams and won multiple British Titles. The Thespians were made up mostly of Americans and artists from London’s famed theater district, and large benefactors from
    London’s theater scene would support the league.   R.G. Knowles is also a member of the UK Baseball Hall of Fame.

    The L.B.B.A, when first founded, included five London teams, the Jays, Thespians, Remingtons, Electrics and Clapham Postmen, representing London, and teams from
    Liverpool, Derby, Stockton, Darlington, Middlesborough, and New Castle.  Many teams were heavily supported by American resources – the Remington’s by Remington
    Typewriter, and another team was supported by Dewars, the whiskey producer.

              May, 1894, about 3000 attend the London Baseball Association’s inaugural match at the Thespians' new home ground at Hyde Farm, in Balham.
                                                   The American dominated Thespians would go on to win the 1894 British National Championship by beating Stockton.
1894 Announcement for the first game of the L.B.B.A  played at Baseball Park at Hyde Farm, Balham.

Boxing World Heavyweight Champion James J. Corbett is mentioned as the possible Umpire.
Balham Hyde Farm, 1894.
R. G. Knowles' Thespian Baseball Team
As player-manager Knowles led the club to the 1893 and 1894 British National Championships.
R.G. Knowles, UK Baseball Hall of Fame
Thespians v. Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show
Supposedly a game in July, 1892, between the Thespians and a team of Cowboys from Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show, really gave baseball its "start" in London.
R.G. Knowles' Book:  The "Oval" Series of Games - Baseball, 1896.
A large portion of the book is dedicated to describing everything about the L.B.B.A - it's organization, teams, and players.

1893 and 1894 Thespians Baseball Club - British National Champions.

Chicago Tribune, July, 1896.

Newton Crane - Baseball Pioneer in America and England.
Newton Crane was a pioneer and promoter of baseball in England.  He was instrumental in the formation of the London Baseball Association in 1894, and he was the league
President that first year.  In 1891 Crane wrote a British Baseball book entitled
Baseball.  It is part of the All England Series.  Prior to that, in 1889, Crane formed the National
Base Ball League of Great Britain with Crane as president and money, players and managers provided by Albert Spalding. That was Great Britain's first organized baseball league,
but rowdiness led to the dissolution of the league after one season.
This little book of baseball rules published in Great
Britain in 1891 was designed to introduce players,
coaches and spectators to the basic rules and history of
the sport as it struggled to gain a foothold in the
Ticket issued in 1895 by the London Base-Ball Association.
(National Baseball Hall of Fame Library)
Walden's Monthly from 1894. Edited by Henry Chadwick.
It describes the Thespians' 1983 British championship game at Hyde Farm, Balham.