Baseball in the 1912 Summer Olympics – Playmakerjournal

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Baseball in the 1912 Summer Olympics

Olympic Basseball Sweden

Americans demonstrated the national pastime at the 1912 Summer Olympic Games in an exhibition game against Sweden's Vesteras Baseball Club, then in its third season.

The official Olympic report, published in 1913, noted that because "a great deal depends on the  . . . ability of the pitcher and catcher as as, compared to their opponents, the Swedish team was pretty weak in their respect, the captain of the American team was begged to allow two of his men to act as the battery for the home side. The visitors were kind enough to comply with this request . . ."

The American team comprised athletes who were at the Games competing in other sports. None of the Swedish players had ever before seen a game played by an experienced opponent, and not surprisingly, the Americans prevailed, 13-3.

What struck the Olympic's report's Swedish authors the most was "the ability of the pitcher to throw the ball so that it 'breaks' in the air, this making it very difficult for the striker to hit," a technique the home team "had not yet learnt."

For the Swedes, "Matters turned out far better that had been expected . . . our team did not at all make such a bad figure in the field, though there were a number of mistakes, excusable on account o nervousness, etc."