When Baseball came to Goodison

(Everton FC Website) 27/03/2019

The Major League Baseball season gets under way in the USA on Thursday and, to mark the occasion, the Everton Heritage Society’s Richie Gillham looks back at the some of the links between the sport and Everton FC. Richie starts by reflecting on when two of the most famous teams in baseball slugged it out at Goodison Park…

White Sox v Giants at the Grand Old Lady

New York Giants became the San Francisco Giants when the Franchise was moved in 1958

Chicago White Sox

On 23 October 1924, Chicago White Sox and New York Giants opened their European Tour with an exhibition game at Goodison Park.

More than 2,500 people watched the White Sox beat the Giants 16-11. A newspaper report describes the game as follows:

Many who had not previously witnessed a ball game were astounded by the prodigious hitting of the American batsmen, the ball frequently falling into the stands. The play was exceedingly fast, but the smart fielding of the White Sox was the downfall of the Giants. 

Sir John Moores helps the sport thrive on Merseyside

Sir John Moores, who would later become Everton chairman, invested a lot of his time into baseball in the 1930s.

Moores was a keen baseball fan and set out to convince 18 local teams from the Liverpool area to create a league in 1933. An ever-increasing number of footballers were taking part in baseball leagues across the country, and Moores established the National Baseball Association. 

Dixie Dean and baseball

Dixie Dean’s first movement into the world of baseball came when playing for Blundellsands at Bridge Road.

The local press then reported on 8 June 1936 that Dixie Dean made his Liverpool Caledonians debut. Dean proved to have quite a talent for the sport and it was also reported that he represented England at White City Stadium vs an All-American team in 1936.

Regular matches at Goodison

In 1945, baseball fan and former Everton secretary and first-team manager Theo Kelly helped establish a team called Halton Trojans (named after a nearby pub and the team’s favourite drink, Higson’s Trojan) who would play some of their matches at Goodison Park. 

The Everton Chairman during the Second World War, Bill Giddins, was also a follower of the sport. He sanctioned Goodison hosting a baseball league during the war, when local players took on American soldiers who were stationed in Liverpool. The home plate was in the corner between Gwladys Street and Bullens Road.

In 1948, the Halton Trojans changed their home venue to Bellefield after a sub-committee of Everton board decided they did not want Goodison hosting any more baseball games.

The last game of baseball at Goodison Park was the 1948 Lancashire Cup Final, when Halton Trojans took on Formby Cardinals.

By Richie Gillham

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