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From 1933: ‘Baseball Started in Earnest on Saturday at the Queen’s Park Rangers Ground’

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The West London Observer filed the following report on 12th May 1933:

‘The Anglo-American Baseball Club, who have taken the Queen’s Park Rangers’ ground at Loftus Road, Shepherd’s Bush, for the summer, open their season at home on Saturday with a fixture against Oxford University.

Alf Mancini, the well-known local boxer will “kick-off” at 3.30pm.

It may be of interest to many of our readers to learn that the London Americans have expressed their eagerness to train boys, particularly those residing in West London in the evening to play baseball.

In fact, every endeavour will be made to make Loftus Road this summer the centre for London boys who want to learn the game.’

A further report then appeared a week later:

‘Baseball started in earnest on Saturday at the Queen’s Park Rangers ground, Loftus Road, Shepherd’s Bush, and in spite of the morning’s deluge, a large crowd was present when Alf Mancini, the popular local boxer, opened the match with Oxford University by throwing the first ball. And what a game it was!

Crammed full of fast moving and exciting incidents, interspersed by the clever “wise-cracking” humour of Bud Munro, acting as a kind of compare, who managed to induce most of the spectators to answer him back between innings.

Oxford University gained a well-deserved victory and incidentally made the first home run of the game.

The home team, the London Americans, have invited the ‘Varsity nine to Loftus Road again tomorrow (Saturday) at 3.30, when they hope to reverse last Saturday’s defeat.

The game is easy to understand if one buys a programme, in which the rules are simply set out.’

And this from the London Daily News later that month:

‘A British Empire team will meet representatives of USA in today’s baseball match on the Queen’s Park Rangers FC’s ground at Loftus Road (3.30).

The Empire players being drawn from Oxford University and London.’

The following article appeared on 16th June in the London Observer:

‘The Inter-Varsity game, which was to have taken place on the Queen’s Park Rangers’ ground at Loftus Road on Saturday, had to be cancelled at the last moment, owing to the Cambridge nine scratching the fixture.

However, the spectators were not to be disappointed, as London Americans turned out to give Oxford a really splendid game.

Right from the start Oxford managed to secure a substantial lead, gaining four runs in one innings alone, and although Stewart, London’s pitcher, put up a very fine show, but he was unable to catch up with McCourt, of Oxford, who pitched remarkably well, scoring in all thirteen “strike-outs”.

The score ended up at 4-3 in Oxford’s favour, after a very thrilling game.’

The sport certainly continued in West London as there are references to matches at the White City Stadium in 1935 and after the War.

Steve Russell

(Thanks to Colin Woodley for his assistance)

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