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Feb '15 16

British Baseball mourns passing of Historian William Morgan



Press Release Project COBB

British baseball loses its greatest historian and chronicler with the passing of William Morgan

mercury_smallWilliam Morgan, the greatest historian and chronicler of British baseball that the game has known, passed away on 21
January 2015 at Ashmead Care Centre in Putney.

William (born 9 October 1923) was for decades British baseball’s pre-eminent historian and journalist, and his seminal research and chronicling efforts form the backbone of much of what we know about the game’s history in Britain. The most invaluable of his many important works was a list of national champions dating back to the game’s organised start in 1890. This now serves as the basis of the official record.

Another considerable contribution to British baseball came by way of newsletters he self-published. He edited 24 issues of Baseball Courier between 1963 and 1967 and then went on to produce 51 issues of a second newsletter, Baseball Mercury, between 1972 and 1989.

Not only did he chronicle the contemporary game, but he also made sure the history of British baseball was a major focus of his work. Without these materials, information on expansive periods of British baseball history would have simply disappeared. Moreover, by distributing the publications to over 20 countries, William played a major role in maintaining an international profile for British baseball (at the time, this was probably the only source of information on British baseball for a lot of international recipients).

William first came across the game of baseball in 1938 in Cardiff, where, he later recounted, a seven-team league operated (two Royal Air Force sides, Central YMCA, Mail & Echo, StDavid’s, Lumberjacks [timber importer employees], and Penzance Social Club). He could not afford to join a club but played for a couple of innings in a pre-season pickup game for Central YMCA at second base in 1939. Aside from his role as chronicler and historian, William also served in an administrative capacity at a national level. He was engaged as both Information Officer and Treasurer for governing bodies of baseball in Britain at different times.

In recognition of his contributions to the game, he handed out the MVP trophy at the 1976 British baseball national final (a game for which he was listed in the programme as “Official Baseball Historian”) and was the guest of honour at the 1986 final.

Based on his knowledge and experience, he was chosen to serve as one of the inaugural selectors for this British Baseball Hall of Fame. William had been a permanent resident at Ashmead for just over 12 months following an amputation of one of his legs at Chelsea & Westminster Hospital in June 2013.

His funeral service took place at the Putney Vale Crematorium on 11 February.

About Project COBB
The Project for the Chronicling of British Baseball (Project COBB) is an online collaboration aimed at restoring the record of British baseball’s past and preserving its present. Its website is located at:
http://www.projectcobb.org.uk/


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