The Albaland Baseball Association (ABA) is the governing body of baseball in Albaland. Established in 1910, the ABA holds the responsibility of overseeing and regulating all aspects of baseball within the country both professionally and semi-professionally, including the Albaland Baseball League and Alba Shield competitions, as well as Albaland men’s and women’s national football teams. Serving as the primary authority for the sport, the association plays a vital role in the development, organization, and promotion of baseball in Albaland. The association’s head office is based in New End, a suburb located 4 kilometers south of the central business district within Sandwick.
The ABA reported a significant number of players in Albaland in 2003. According to the announcement, 192,000 players of both sexes were actively engaged in baseball, representing 1,254 teams affiliated with the ABA. It is noteworthy that this figure does not account for informal players or those involved with non-recognized teams. Consequently, the ABA stands as the largest sporting organization in Albaland.
In 1903, Tadd Steward, a businessman from Rigside, proposed the idea of an international baseball tournament among the eight nations located in the South Indian Ocean, with players representing their countries. However, club owners were hesitant due to the lack of a unified rulebook, making the idea impractical at the time. The Centaurus Cup, the tournament, eventually started in 1906, but only after Ambrose Cavanagh, the President of the Ianoian Baseball Association, suggested limiting it to countries with professional leagues.
Seeing the need for a governing body to promote baseball in Albaland internationally, Tadd Steward founded the Albaland Baseball Association (ABA) on November 17th, 1906, in his Rigside home on Woodend Way. Initially, there was significant interest from clubs in joining the ABA, but Steward faced a setback when his early proposals restricted ABA-affiliated clubs from participating in external competitions. As a result, all clubs withdrew their interest. Hubert Alexander, owner of the Royal Arrina Baseball Club, then organized the Alba Shield, a knockout tournament for amateur clubs. This move prompted Steward to rewrite the ABA’s constitution in September 1907, allowing clubs to participate in organized competitions.
Encouraged by the growing popularity of the Alba Shield, Tadd Steward approached various clubs in major cities, persuading them to join his newly formed league, the Albaland Baseball League. Rigside Nine, following a successful run in the 1908 Alba Shield, became the first team to commit to the league in 1909, with Melton Coss and Terregles Collieries, both workers clubs, also pledging their support.
With increasing support from the media and the public, Hubert Alexander proposed bringing the Alba Shield under the ABA’s umbrella. On February 25th, 1910, Steward and Alexander reached an agreement to merge the two entities, allowing non-ABA members to participate in the Alba Shield while naming Alexander as Vice President of the ABA. This move further solidified the ABA’s position as the primary authority for baseball in Albaland, and it marked a significant step in the sport’s organized growth and development within the country.
With the inclusion of the Alba Shield at such a late juncture, clubs were quick to voice their displeasure that a 90-game schedule in the league, including extra games during the week in the Shield, was financially unviable due to additional travel and accommodation. On March 15, 1910, just two weeks before the start of the season, both Steward and Alexander agreed to hold a vote on changing the length of the season from 90 games, to 60, which was ratified by 14 of the 16 clubs through telegram.
|Albaland Baseball Pyramid from 1910 onwards|
|Tier 1||Albaland Baseball League (1 division, bottom 1 up for Re-election)|
|Tier 2||District Leagues (4 parallel divisions, top 2 teams eligible from each for Election to Tier 1)|
Bay of Iona, Greater Cambusland, Tyrant Strait, Southern
|Tier 3||Amateur Leagues (multiple parallel divisions, Teams eligible for promotion to District Leagues based on competitive requirements)|
1910 – 1919
The new shortened season proved a masterstroke, albeit unintentional, as Strathmiglo Wanderers claimed the first league title, finishing 1 point clear of Douglastown BC, with Terregles Collieries and Rigside Nine finish 2 and 3 points further back. However, the first three years of the league saw United Bankfoot being put up for re-election. Rival clubs were keen to see them replaced by 1912, and they looked set to replace the underachievers with Belgravia for the 1913 baseball season, but Tadd Steward successfully argued they should be given two more seasons to prove their worth. The Crabbers were successfully re-elected by a single vote, but it wasn’t without controversy. A Port Bannatyne journalist believed the club was safe from expulsion due to the size of the city, and lack of professional clubs nearby. Steward strongly denied the accusation, and was quoted as saying the league was still in its infancy, and clubs needed support early on, and not to be discarded just because they weren’t successful straight away.
By 1914 though, the league started to come under some scrutiny when Sandwick City clinched their fourth successive league title, romping home with a 7 point advantage over runners-up Oxenfoord Athletic.