Canons Baseball Club, is a professional baseball club located in Canons, Donyatt, Ianoia. The club was a founding member of the Nationwide Baseball Alliance (NBA) in 1900, winning the league in 1904 and 1907. They were still members when the league became the second tier of baseball within Ianoia, under the I-League, in 1915.
The club was founded in 1897 as Worcester Bank Baseball Club, due to it’s proximity to the banks of the Worcester River that flowed through the city, by students looking to play the sport as a way to keep fit. Initially playing friendly games against teams from the local area such as Scawby Rangers, they joined the Nationwide Baseball Alliance in 1900 after having their application to join the I-League rejected.
Worcester Bank’s first competitive game came on the 6th of April 1900, losing 4-3 at home to Great McCutchen, despite a spirited fightback in the bottom of the 9th when trailing 4-1. The following day, Bank picked up their first official win in game two of the series, by a score of 4-to-2. In their first competitive season, Worcester Bank finished 4th. The following season, the club achieved runners-up honors, leapfrogging Red Flag and Strelda on the final weekend after sweeping NN Kingsdown.
After two fourth place finishes, Worcester Bank rebranded as Canons to grow their fanbase and, as quoted by a board member in a local newspaper: “Distinguish itself from numerous local clubs by embracing the psychological advantage of representing the town through our name”. The change proved successful, with Canons winning the 1904 NBA title with a record of 35-19, 1 game ahead of runners-up Ince Ironworks. After holding top spot from mid-June, Canons had seemingly let the title slip through their grasp following a run of 8 losses in 9 games at the end of August which saw them drop to second behind Ince Ironworks. However, led by starting pitcher William Smith, Canons rebounded to win their final 5 games and clinch the title at home on the final day against Brinkburn Coastal. Canons couldn’t repeat as champions in 1905, finishing four games behind eventual winners Ince Ironworks, before repeating as runners-up again the following year to Souldrop.
The 1907 season saw the introduction of the Durand Rules to the Nationwide Baseball Alliance, with Canons first draw coming on the 19th of April in a 4-4 tie with Souldrop. Canons clinched their second league title later that same year, in a back-and-forth affair with Souldrop that saw both teams swap places at the top of the table five times. Canons then entered a period of stability, finishing 4th for four straight years, briefly adopting the name “Canons Bears” in 1908, to emulate the success of the Chicago Cubs in the United States, before dropping the name in 1909. The club clinched runners-up once more in 1912, but the following year, the Bears slumped to 5th, their lowest ever finish, a feat they repeated again in 1914 when they finished 7th, having maintaining a winning record in each of the NBA’s 15 seasons.
Located on the riverbank of the Worcester River, Walt Canon Ballpark has been the long-term home of Canons. Named after the founding father of the city, the stadium’s right field is shortened due to the proximity of the riverbank. In 1957, the river burst it’s banks due to heavy rainfall and damaged the grandstand in center field. Fans wishing to walk around the entire ballpark actually use a tunnel from center field to the right field foul pole that takes them under the playing surface.
A large outfield makes Walt Canon Ballpark a pitcher-friendly location. 10 foot high walls surround the outfield with home runs reduced substantially. Due to the large outfield, triples are up nearly 20% on league averages and right-handed hitters struggle more than left-handed hitters due to the shortened right field wall.