Some of the most amazing stadiums in the world are dedicated to a bat-and-ball sport that most probably developed from an older game called “rounders.”
This means that baseball has a history in Great Britain and Ireland since the mid-18th century. The modern-day game, however, was mostly developed in North America.
Immigrants brought the game to North America and the first-ever baseball game was played here in 1838 in Beachville, Ontario, Canada.
The popularity of the game quickly grew and it has spread, making it one of the most popular sports in the world today that is played in amazing ballparks.
So where is baseball most popular? Let’s find out!
10. United Kingdom
Although nothing will beat the popularity of association football in the United Kingdom any time soon, baseball is considered to be a minor, yet growing sport in the country. The game of rounders was developed here and transformed into the modern-day game so there is some affinity to the sport.
The British Baseball Federation currently governs the sport in the UK, although a baseball league was established as early as 1890. Today, well over 22,000 people play baseball on a regular basis in the UK, and this number s steadily growing year by year.
9. New Zealand
What applies to the UK also applies to New Zealand, a country where baseball is considered to be a minor sport compared to more popular sports such as cricket and rugby union. The governing body of the sport is Baseball New Zealand which was established as the New Zealand Baseball Federation in 1989.
What’s fascinating about baseball in New Zealand is that it’s possible that the first-ever baseball game in the Southern Hemisphere was played in the country. During a tour of New Zeland, a team of American All-Stars played a game against the Chicago Club in 1888
The game of baseball is a sport played in all states and territories of Australia. The sport has an extensive history in the country which most probably dates back to the Victoria Gold Rush of the 1850s. The first official games were played in Ballarat, Victoria, in the year 1857.
The game was introduced to Australia by American gold miners who brought it along with them. Baseball has been played here ever since. The main baseball league in the country is known as the Australian Baseball League (ABL) and it’s governed by the Australian Baseball Federation (ABF).
7. South Korea
Baseball became popular in South Korea when the KBO League, the professional baseball league in the country, was founded in 1982. It has since grown in popularity so much that over 60% of South Koreans considered baseball to be their most favorite sport, which is quite amazing.
The quality of the players who compete in the league is relatively good compared to most other countries. The best players in the KBO League could easily play in the MLB in the United States. Another reason why baseball is popular in South Korea is that the fans can be as vocal as during football games, something that adds another dimension to the game.
6. Puerto Rico
Similar to South Korea, baseball is by far the most popular sport in Puerto Rico. It’s another place where baseball has an extensive history as it was first introduced on the island in the late 19th century. The first tow baseball teams in Puerto Rico were established in 1897, a year before the U.S. invasion of 1898.
This doesn’t mean, however, that everybody in Puto Rico instantly fell in love with the game. It wasn’t until the players became better and regularly started beating American teams that the interest in the game grew. The country has produced dozens of world-famous baseball players, including many players who were added to the Hall of Fame.
The history of baseball in Canada dates back to the 19th century, and more specifically, in the early part of the century in Ontario. The first official game was played in 1838, although the rules of this game might have been slightly different from the modern-day game that is played all over the world today.
Although baseball isn’t the most popular game in the country, there is a team in Canada competing in Major League Baseball in the United States. The Toronto Blue Jays play their games at the fantastic Rogers Centre in downtown Toronto, one of the biggest stadiums in Canada. A former MLB team was called the Montreal Expos but they moved to Washington D.C. in 2005.
The proximity of Cuba to the United States resulted in Cuban students bringing the game back home as early as the 1860s. The Cuban students who studied in the United States were instantly hooked to the game and quickly spread the sport across the island in the mid-19th century.
The brothers Nemesio and Ernesto Guillot subsequently formed the first Cuban baseball team in 1868 which was called the Habana Base Ball Club. The first official game in Cuba was played 6 years later in 1874. Despite the extensive history and popularity of baseball in Cuba, the local teams only perform on an amateur level.
Baseball is both the most popular spectator sport and it has many active players of any sport in the country. The history of baseball in Japan dates back to its introduction to the country in 1876 by an American professor in Tokyo named Horace Wilson. The Japanese instantly loved the game.
The history of the first professional leagues in Japan remains rather obscure, but they were established in the 1920s. Today, the Nippon Professional Baseball League is the main league in the country and it consists of the Central League and the Pacific League, each featuring 6 professional teams.
2. Dominican Republic
The game of baseball was introduced to the Dominican by Cuban immigrants in the late 19th century. It has since then become by far the most popular sport in the country. This popularity is emphasized by the fact that there are only more U.S. players performing in MLB than Dominicans.
The number of quality players has also resulted in a very successful Dominican Republic national baseball team. They have won many prizes, and as you can surely guess, this further popularized the game in the Dominican Republic.
1. United States
A form of baseball has been played in the United States since the 18th century. This derivative of the game of rounders eventually formed the base of the modern-day game of baseball. The first amateur clubs were formed in the 1830s and the first professional league was established as the “National League” in 1876.
Major League Baseball (MLB) is the most popular baseball league in the world today and although it’s not the most popular sport in the country, it’s still referred to as America’s favorite pastime. This means that the United States is the country where baseball is most popular!