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South African Baseball

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  • #16
    Although not related to South African baseball, I do have an intriguing story I posted about earlier. As you may know, in late 1899, when the 2nd Anglo-Boer War started up, the ZAR and OVS both called for foreign volunteers. The ZAR had a relatively famous Irish Brigade that was actually mostly Irish Americans (their commanding officer, Colonel John Blake, was a former US Cavalry officer; the original man slated to be the CO was Brigadier General St. Claire Mulholland, a former US Army officer who came up through the famed, virtually all-Irish 69th New York Infantry Regiment during the American Civil War). Among these men was a fellow named Frank O'Neill, who was KIA.

    An obituary from the newspaper Die Patriot in early 1900 notes that O'Neill played baseball in the Hudson River League in the 1890's, noting his position as a "bowler" (unless something got lost in my friend's translation from Cape Dutch...almost surely meaning he was a pitcher). While the Hudson River League was not a professional league in the 1890's, it was pro in 1886 and from 1902-1907. Perhaps O'Neill, the only known casualty of the Second Anglo-Boer War to have played baseball, played it professionally, but only perhaps. Data from the time regarding Minor Leaguers is incredibly sketchy and an obituary would likely have come from whatever information his comrades gave out (and who probably didn't even speak more than a few words of Cape Dutch). The O'Neill story is intriguing, but sadly, a story's all it is right now due to lack of surviving data.
    "They put me in the Hall of Fame? They must really be scraping the bottom of the barrel!"
    -Eppa Rixey, upon learning of his induction to the Baseball Hall of Fame.

    Motafy (MO-ta-fy) vt. -fied, -fying 1. For a pitcher to melt down in a big game situation; to become like Guillermo Mota. 2. The transformation of a good pitcher into one of Guillermo Mota's caliber.


    • #17
      Americans in the Boer War

      Amazing that an American soldier volunteers to fight in the Boer War, and then plays Baseball in SA!

      My father fought in WW2 in North Africa, saw the Americans play ball, participated, went back to SA and was instrumental in starting Little League in Johannesburg.

      It is a strange world.


      • #18
        I had six relatives fighting in the 2nd Anglo-Boer War. Five for the Boers, one for the Brits. Nationalities are as follows...
        -2 Afrikanerjoode (Cousins, albeit pretty distant. One was in charge of distributing ammunition and rifles for a kommando [I believe said kommando originated in Johannesburg]. The other was a regular burgher who wound up fighting under first Lukas Meyer and then Louis Botha. Both survived the war, though the latter lost his right arm.)
        -2 Irish-American (Brothers, both survived.)
        -1 German (Lt. Wilhelm Friedrich Pohlman, Johannesburg ZARP...he was the second-in-command at Bergendal. KIA.)
        -1 Anglo South African (He'd be the guy fighting for the Brits.)
        "They put me in the Hall of Fame? They must really be scraping the bottom of the barrel!"
        -Eppa Rixey, upon learning of his induction to the Baseball Hall of Fame.

        Motafy (MO-ta-fy) vt. -fied, -fying 1. For a pitcher to melt down in a big game situation; to become like Guillermo Mota. 2. The transformation of a good pitcher into one of Guillermo Mota's caliber.


        • #19
          Baseball South Africa

          This information is fun, and I am interested, but this might not be the right forum for this.

          My reason for being on this site is to promote SA baseball and perhaps speak to people who remember the history of SA Baseball. We had a lot of friends and adventures playing baseball, albiet in sometimes primitive conditions.

          I remember playing softball at Tempe in Bloemfontein, being recruited by the Paratrooper Major who heard of me, and made me coach the team, which subsequently beat the panzer division, and won the cup from them. (It also allowed me to get out of a lot of regular duty.)

          So to finish, let me know your baseball stories. (no offense boetie)


          • #20
            I played baseball at Rhodes Park in the 80's but it was Giants and Imps at that stage and then moved to Edenvale. I now play at one of the oldest clubs(so I'm told) Goodwood Demons in Cape Town. Cadworks do you know Trevor Barnley from WP ? There is a man who remembers and knows the history of SA Baseball and has all the stuff at his place to prove it.

            If you are on Facebook there is a Group SABU-SA baseball with links to all SA baseball sites.


            • #21
              Rhodes Parkuwane

              Thanks for reply. Do not know Trevor Barnley of WS,

              Knew a bunch of great guys, Brian Bentley was our pitcher, Paul Port catcher, Raymond and Trevor Tew, Swanepoel brothers, Pat and Cedric McKinnon, all long time players from little league to Majors.........

              Have home movie that had a short sequence of ball playing on it, and I was amazed at the hustle, even during practice!!!

              Traveled all over, Wanderers, (where we played the Giants for the Major League Championship, if I remember correctly), Germiston, Southern Suburbs, and Crown Mines, etc.... Never went to Cape Town to play.

              Had cabinets full of cups. Maybe Mr. Barnley inherited those?)


              • #22
                For all of you South African baseballers, a quick question:

                Why did you pick baseball over cricket? You must have felt a lot of social pressure to play cricket--not to mention all of the available resources and support for cricketers in SA. What gives?

                (And, no, I'm not picking a fight over which is better, cricket or baseball. That's been fought too many times to count. What I am interested in is why people in a country with a well-established bat-and-ball game tradition would choose to play another game that doesn't even remotely have the same support.)


                • #23
                  Why baseball

                  Reply to "Monkey"

                  Read a couple of posts above about my father etc. We ended up liking American things in general, plus I found baseball to be a much more interesting game than cricket, lots more action, and individual participation. Cricket can take days to play. You can leave, have lunch, come back and not miss anything......

                  I did not have much interest in Soccer, just a lot of running, and Rugby just seemed to be football without good rules.

                  I also prefered American Football and Ice Hockey.

                  There must have been a lot of others who felt as we did, no shortage of teams, and there wasn't much opportunity for pro or semi pro in any sport at the time.


                  • #24
                    Replying to Monkey-

                    Cricket will always be my favourite sport to watch and play, but I also like baseball and have been supporting the LA Angels of Anaheim since 2001

                    My fondness for baseball comes from an ex-bf who was heavily into North American sports. His enthusiasm rubbed of on me and even though he is no longer in the picture, my support for baseball has not waned

                    Sian xx
                    Sian xx

                    South Africa Baseball-
                    Baseball World Cup- 9th (1974), 15th (1998), 14th (2001), 17th (2005), 15th (2007)
                    All-Africa Games- CHAMPIONS (1999 & 2003)
                    Olympic Baseball- 8th (2000)
                    World Baseball Classic- 16th (2006), 16th (2009)


                    • #25

                      I do know Pat McKinnon from Edenvale Gaints/Imps, if i remeber right he was club chairman at one stage, his son was a year younger than me. I see Dean McKinnon is still with the club on Giants website, he was my u/12 coach. Raymond Tew is a name I hear a lot down here in CPT but dont know him. Do you know
                      John and Ronnie Peters. John played at Saints, Bears, and Pirates, little league for Mondeor. Ronnie played with the Swanepoel brothers.
                      and you said Wanderers,...Trevor Barnley has a photo where he is pitching at Wanderers for WP against TVL. lol


                      • #26
                        Replying to Monkey

                        I thinks its a family thing to. A lot of guys i know dads played and it just went from dad to son, very little guys just pitch up play and stay in baseball that way... it does happen but i think its dad son thing more that kept baseball going here. but you still play cricket and rugby at school and baseball at a club. i still play cricket but baseball comes first!


                        • #27
                          Do any schools offer baseball? And is baseball mostly played in the Cape, or is it played all over?


                          • #28
                            South African Baseball games

                            I found two full games of the SA team at
                            (37th Baseball World Cup.)
                            One vs USA and one vs CHINESE TAIPEI.


                            • #29
                              Rally Monkey

                              Yes they do now..... don't know all the info on it but its something like USSA or something.... united school sports. It was not big when i was in school but you do hear about it.

                              Baseball gets played in Cape Town, Johannesburg, Durban and Pretoria. South West District Boland and Eastern Cape have teams to. But the Cape is the strongest now, were Johannesburg was the strongest with North, East and central having there own leagues.


                              • #30
                                baseball in SA schools

                                United School Sports Association of South Africa (USSASA) - baseball


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