In 1894, Naval Lieutenant Shawn Woodhead, a passionate baseball enthusiast, took it upon himself to establish a baseball team exclusively for naval officers stationed in Ilford. However, as he began the recruitment process, he realized that the majority of officers showed little interest in the sport. Determined to form a competitive team, Woodhead decided to broaden the scope and opened up try-outs to all seamen in the naval shipyards. The decision proved to be a game-changer as the team quickly gained popularity and support throughout the city of Ilford.
Despite initial resistance from Woodhead, who envisioned the team as an exclusive club for naval personnel, the demand from Ilford’s residents became undeniable. As a result, the team eventually allowed try-outs for all interested individuals, six months prior to the start of the highly anticipated I-League.
The team earned its nickname, the Claymores, as a tribute to INS Claymore, the legendary naval vessel that had a significant impact on the region’s maritime history. Although INS Claymore was not directly linked to Ilford, the team sought to honor its legacy. The team’s actual name, Tyrant-Ilford, is derived from HMS Tyrant, the ship that carried the original settlers to the shores of Ianoia.
Tyrant-Ilford proudly calls Ripley Yard their home stadium. Situated on the outskirts of the naval shipyard, Ripley Yard was once a bustling railyard that ceased operation in 1887. The location was repurposed and transformed into a baseball haven, offering an extraordinary backdrop for the team’s games. Despite its limited seating capacity of 29,000, the stadium attracts passionate fans who eagerly cheer for their beloved Claymores. Notably, the stadium’s design includes a unique feature – a slightly shallower left field fence. This design quirk adds an intriguing dynamic to the game, favoring right-handed pull-hitters who aim to hit home runs over the left field fence.