The Derby County Baseball Club
was a baseball
club in Great Britain
that played baseball until 1898 when football
become the dominant sport in that region. To the British gentleman
, baseball was an awkward sport that was the direct descendant of cricket
, a game that rivalled with golf
in popularity at that time.
Baseball was introduced to Derby by Sir Francis Ley
, an industralist, who owned Ley's Malleable Castings. Following a visit to the United States
in 1889, Ley became convinced that, as a way of ensuring a healthier and more productive workforce, an investment should be made in promoting recreation for his workers. During his journey to the States, Ley had seen the way in which baseball fields had been laid out by companies and factories for the use by their workers and decided to follow suit on his return to Derby. Consequently, Ley had the Baseball Ground
built; a park for the use of workers with cricket and baseball facilities.
The club ran away with the first championship after the National Baseball League of Great Britain and Ireland was established in 1890. However, pressure from other teams in the league over the number of American players on the Derby team forced Derby to resign at the end of the league's first season, though the baseball club itself lasted until 1898.
Baseball in the United Kingdom