One of the real joys of going to baseball games in this country – particularly if you are relatively new to the sport like me – is listening to the anecdotes of people who have been involved in the British game for a good chunk of time. With the notable exception of Jeff Archer’s Strike Four, very few anecdotes have been recorded in print (the game reports that have been published in newspapers and remain available in archives tend to contain nothing more than match facts, very possibly because only a few column inches are available to baseball in this country). Therefore, oral anecdotes really serve a valuable purpose.
One such story I heard this year was about a team called the Caterham Athletics, who played a season in the mid-to-late 1990s in the British league with only eight players (that’s a two man outfield with an automatic out in the #9 spot). As the season progressed and the inevitable niggling injuries cropped up, the infield (where a relatively smaller fielding range is required) began to pick itself. By the end of the season the players at first, second, third, and shortstop each had a different leg injury; but the same eight players turned out in every game. The best thing is that the team did not disgrace themselves. My memory of the anecdote is a bit fuzzy here, but I think I was told that they finished with an 8-8 record. However, that could have just been because I have the number eight on the brain.
Of course by documenting this here, the oral anecdote becomes something preserved for as long as the cogs at internet HQ keep on turning.
If I can get some more details about this story I will fill them in here. Better still, if you the reader can help with this or would like to share other anecdotes, then please add a comment to this post.