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Joe Quinn, the first Australian to play in MLB
Joe Quinn, the first Australian to play in MLB
Graph showing the number of Australians to have played at least one MLB game in a season since 1986
Graph showing the number of Australians to have played at least one MLB game in a season since 1986

The first recorded baseball event in Australia took place in Melbourne, Victoria in 1857, between teams from Collingwood and Richmond. Accounts vary as to the details, including whether it was a single game or a series of three games, though details in common include a score of 350–230 in favour of Collingwood, and that the rules used were some form of hybrid between cricket and baseball, with teams batting until all players were out, and runs being scored for every base crossed, rather than just for reaching home plate.[1][2] Though there are no records to confirm it, the commonly held belief is that baseball in Australia originated on the Ballarat gold-fields among American miners.[1] The Claxton Shield, the first annually recurring national tournament, commenced in 1934. Though the tournament itself has been supplanted at various points in its history, the physical Shield is still awarded to the national champions in the Australian Baseball League.[3]

As of the 2019 Major League Baseball (MLB) season, 34 Australians have played in at least one MLB game. Of those players, 31 were born in Australia, the remainder having been born elsewhere but raised in Australia and have played for the Australia national baseball team at International Baseball Federation or sanctioned tournaments such as the Olympic Games and World Baseball Classic. 24 of the players have been pitchers and the other 10 have been position players.

Australia became the sixth country (not counting the United States) to have a player represented in the major leagues, when Joe Quinn made his debut on 26 April 1884 for the St. Louis Maroons. Quinn also became the first Australian-born manager, as a player-manager for the St. Louis Browns in 1895.[4] After Quinn played his last MLB game, it was almost 85 years before another Australian would appear in an MLB game: Craig Shipley on 22 June 1986 for the Los Angeles Dodgers.[5] The most recent Australian-born player to make his debut in the major leagues is Alexander Wells, who played for the Baltimore Orioles on 27 June 2021.

As of 2019, Grant Balfour, David Nilsson and Liam Hendriks are the only Australians to have played in an MLB All-Star Game. In 2013, Balfour was added to the squad by AL manager Jim Leyland as a 'Sunday replacement' pitcher. In 1999, Nilsson was one of two players from the Milwaukee Brewers to be selected.[6] At this time the starting lineup was selected by the fans through voting at stadiums and online. The remaining players were selected by the managers of the respective teams, themselves having been the managers of the league champions from the previous season: in Nilsson's case, he was selected by Bruce Bochy, who had managed the San Diego Padres to the 1998 World Series against the New York Yankees.[7] Liam Hendriks became the third Australian to make the MLB All-Star Game in 2019, as a replacement for Charlie Morton.

Trent Durrington became the only Australian position player to pitch in an MLB game when he appeared for the Milwaukee Brewers on 17 April 2004 against the Houston Astros.[8] Durrington had already entered the game initially as a pinch hitter and remained in the game playing at third base. With two outs in the bottom of the eighth inning, Durrington faced one hitter and induced a fly ball out.[9]

Players

Key
1B First baseman
2B Second baseman
3B Third baseman
C Catcher
DH Designated hitter
IF Infielder
M Manager
OF Outfielder
P Pitcher
SS Shortstop
U Utility
* Member of Baseball Australia Hall of Fame
Peter Moylan playing for the Atlanta Braves in San Diego, August 2009
Peter Moylan playing for the Atlanta Braves in San Diego, August 2009
Trent Oeltjen playing for the Los Angeles Dodgers in Los Angeles, June 2011
Trent Oeltjen playing for the Los Angeles Dodgers in Los Angeles, June 2011
Australian MLB players
Player Position Debut Debut team Final game Final team Ref(s)
Grant Balfour* P 22 July 2001 Minnesota Twins 18 April 2015 Tampa Bay Rays [10]
Shayne Bennett* P 22 August 1997 Montreal Expos 15 August 1999 Montreal Expos [11][12]
Travis Blackley P 1 July 2004 Seattle Mariners 13 September 2013 Texas Rangers [13]
Cam Cairncross P 20 July 2000 Cleveland Indians 1 October 2000 Cleveland Indians [14]
Trent Durrington 2B / 3B / DH 6 August 1999 Anaheim Angels 28 September 2005 Milwaukee Brewers [15]
James Beresford 3B 11 September 2016 Minnesota Twins 1 October 2016 Minnesota Twins [16]
Mark Ettles P 5 June 1993 San Diego Padres 9 July 1993 San Diego Padres [17]
Brad Harman IF 22 April 2008 Philadelphia Phillies 8 May 2008 Philadelphia Phillies [18]
Liam Hendriks P 6 September 2011 Minnesota Twins Active[P 1] Chicago White Sox [19]
Justin Huber 1B / DH / OF 21 June 2005 Kansas City Royals 11 September 2009 Minnesota Twins [20]
Luke Hughes IF 28 April 2010 Minnesota Twins 29 April 2012 Oakland Athletics [21]
Mark Hutton P 23 July 1993 New York Yankees 21 May 1998 Cincinnati Reds [22]
Shane Lindsay P 2 September 2011 Chicago White Sox 12 September 2011 Chicago White Sox [23]
Graeme Lloyd* P 11 April 1993 Milwaukee Brewers 27 September 2003 Kansas City Royals [24][25]
Damian Moss P 26 April 2001 Atlanta Braves 29 April 2004 Tampa Bay Devil Rays [26]
Peter Moylan P 12 April 2006 Atlanta Braves 28 July 2018 Atlanta Braves [27]
Micheal Nakamura[P 2] P 7 June 2003 Minnesota Twins 31 July 2004 Toronto Blue Jays [28]
David Nilsson* C / 1B / DH / OF 18 May 1992 Milwaukee Brewers 3 October 1999 Milwaukee Brewers [24][29]
Trent Oeltjen OF 6 August 2009 Arizona Diamondbacks 28 September 2011 Los Angeles Dodgers [30]
Chris Oxspring P 2 September 2005 San Diego Padres 17 September 2005 San Diego Padres [31]
Luke Prokopec P 4 September 2000 Los Angeles Dodgers 23 August 2002 Toronto Blue Jays [32]
Joe Quinn U / M[P 3] 26 April 1884 St. Louis Maroons 23 July 1901 Washington Senators [4]
Warwick Saupold P 16 May 2016 Detroit Tigers 3 July 2018 Detroit Tigers
Ryan Rowland-Smith P 22 June 2007 Seattle Mariners 14 April 2014 Arizona Diamondbacks [33]
Craig Shipley* U 22 June 1986 Los Angeles Dodgers 25 September 1998 Anaheim Angels [5][24]
Chris Snelling[P 4] OF 25 May 2002 Seattle Mariners 6 June 2008 Philadelphia Phillies [34]
Josh Spence P 24 June 2011 San Diego Padres 11 May 2012 New York Yankees [35]
John Stephens P 30 July 2002 Baltimore Orioles 29 September 2002 Baltimore Orioles [36]
Phil Stockman[P 5] P 15 June 2006 Atlanta Braves 11 June 2008 Atlanta Braves [37]
Brad Thomas P 26 May 2001 Minnesota Twins 20 May 2011 Detroit Tigers [38]
Rich Thompson P 1 September 2007 Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim 23 April 2012 Oakland Athletics [39]
Lewis Thorpe P 30 June 2019 Minnesota Twins Active[P 6] Minnesota Twins [40]
Alexander Wells P 26 June 2021 Baltimore Orioles Active[P 7] Baltimore Orioles [41]
Aaron Whitefield OF 25 July 2020 Minnesota Twins Active[P 6] Minnesota Twins [42]
Glenn Williams 3B 7 June 2005 Minnesota Twins 28 June 2005 Minnesota Twins [43]
Jeff Williams P 12 September 1999 Los Angeles Dodgers 28 September 2002 Los Angeles Dodgers [44]
Notes
  1. ^ Denotes that the player played at least one game in the 2020 season
  2. ^ Nakamura was born in Japan, but raised in Australia from the age of 3. He competed for Australia at the 1996 Atlanta and 2000 Sydney Olympic Games.
  3. ^ Quinn acted as player-manager for the 1895 St. Louis Browns and the 1899 Cleveland Spiders.
  4. ^ Snelling was born in the United States, but was raised in Australia. He competed for Australia at the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games, 2009 World Baseball Classic and 2009 Baseball World Cup.
  5. ^ Stockman was born in England, but was raised in Australia. He competed for Australia at the 2004 Athens Olympic Games and 2006 World Baseball Classic.
  6. ^ a b Denotes that the player played at least one game in the 2020 season
  7. ^ Denotes that the player played at least one game in the 2021 season

Postseason appearances

Graeme Lloyd, the first Australian to appear in a World Series
Graeme Lloyd, the first Australian to appear in a World Series

Joe Quinn became the first Australian to make an appearance in a postseason game for a Major League team, when the Boston Beaneaters met the Cleveland Spiders in a best-of-nine game series between the season's first half and second half leaders. In 1892, the National League (NL) was the only active Major League, and Boston were already considered to be the NL pennant winners as they had the best record at the end of the season, and the series—won by the Beaneaters 5–0 (with one tie)—was considered an exhibition series.[45]

In the modern era (considered to be from 1901 to today by MLB, as it was the first season with both of the current Major Leagues in operation), five Australians have played in postseason games, all of them pitchers. Graeme Lloyd became the first, playing with the New York Yankees in 1996. He made appearances against the Texas Rangers in the League Division Series, the Baltimore Orioles in the League Championship Series, and the Atlanta Braves in the World Series. Lloyd was credited with the win in game 4 of the 1996 World Series,[46] becoming the first Australian player to do so, as well as becoming the first Australian to be a World Series champion when the Yankees won in 1996[47] and again in 1998.[48]

Grant Balfour has the most postseason appearances of any Australian.
Grant Balfour has the most postseason appearances of any Australian.

Grant Balfour holds the record for most appearances in postseason games for an Australian, having played in a total of seventeen games, thirteen with the Tampa Bay Rays, two with the Minnesota Twins and two with the Oakland Athletics.[10] Damian Moss and Peter Moylan also made postseason appearances, both having played for the Atlanta Braves against the San Francisco Giants: Moss in the 2002 National League Division Series,[26] and Moylan in the 2010 National League Division Series.[27] Liam Hendriks is the most recent Australian to play in the postseason, and the only such player to start a postseason game, pitching in the 2018 American League Wild Card Game for the Oakland Athletics.[49]

Australian players in MLB postseason games
Player Seasons World Series LCS LDS WC Ref(s)
Series
won
Series
played
Games
played
Series
won
Series
played
Games
played
Series
won
Series
played
Games
played
Series
won
Series
played
Games
played
Grant Balfour 2004 Minnesota Twins
2008 Tampa Bay Rays
2010 Tampa Bay Rays
2012 Oakland Athletics
2013 Oakland Athletics
0 1 3 1 1 4 1 5 13 [50]
[51][52][53]
[54]
[55]
[56]
Liam Hendriks 2018 Oakland Athletics
2019 Oakland Athletics
2020 Oakland Athletics
0 1 4 1 3 5 [57]
[58]
[59][60]
Graeme Lloyd 1996 New York Yankees
1997 New York Yankees
1998 New York Yankees
2 2 5 2 2 3 2 3 5 [61][62][47]
[63]
[64][65][48]
Damian Moss 2002 Atlanta Braves 0 1 2 [66]
Peter Moylan 2010 Atlanta Braves 0 1 4 [67]
Joe Quinn 1892 Boston Beaneaters 1 1 6 [45]

See also

References

  1. ^ a b Clark, Joe (2003). "The Origins of Australian Baseball". A History of Australian Baseball: Time and Game. Lincoln, Nebraska: University of Nebraska Press. p. 5. ISBN 0-8032-6440-2.
  2. ^ Bjarkman, Peter C (2005). "Europe, Africa, and the Pacific Rim". Diamonds Around the Globe. Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood Press. p. 358. ISBN 0-313-32268-6.
  3. ^ Nash, Stephen (9 February 2010). "ACES: a message from the General Manager". Baseball Victoria. Archived from the original on 6 July 2011. Retrieved 14 February 2010.
  4. ^ a b "Joe Quinn statistics". Baseball-Reference. Retrieved 7 August 2011.
  5. ^ a b "Craig Shipley statistics". Baseball-Reference. Retrieved 7 August 2011.
  6. ^ "1999 All-Star Game". Baseball-Reference. Retrieved 7 August 2011.
  7. ^ "1998 World Series". Baseball-Reference. Retrieved 15 July 2011.
  8. ^ "Non-Pitchers with pitching appearances". Baseball-Reference. Retrieved 28 June 2011.
  9. ^ "April 17, 2004 – Milwaukee Brewers @ Houston Astros – Play by Play and Box Score". Baseball-Reference. Retrieved 28 June 2011.
  10. ^ a b "Grant Balfour statistics". Baseball-Reference. Retrieved 7 August 2011.
  11. ^ Anderson, Michelle (28 November 2007). "ABF Formally Announces Inductees to Baseball Australia Hall of Fame". Baseball Australia. Australian Baseball Federation. Retrieved 7 August 2011.
  12. ^ "Shayne Bennett statistics". Baseball-Reference. Retrieved 7 August 2011.
  13. ^ "Travis Blackley statistics". Baseball-Reference. Retrieved 7 August 2011.
  14. ^ "Cam Cairncross statistics". Baseball-Reference. Retrieved 7 August 2011.
  15. ^ "Trent Durrinton statistics". Baseball-Reference. Retrieved 7 August 2011.
  16. ^ "James Beresford statistics". Baseball-Reference. Retrieved 12 September 2016.
  17. ^ "Mark Ettles statistics". Baseball-Reference. Retrieved 7 August 2011.
  18. ^ "Brad Harman statistics". Baseball-Reference. Retrieved 7 August 2011.
  19. ^ "Liam Hendriks statistics". Baseball-Reference. Retrieved 23 May 2014.
  20. ^ "Justin Huber statistics". Baseball-Reference. Retrieved 7 August 2011.
  21. ^ "Luke Hughes statistics". Baseball-Reference. Retrieved 23 April 2012.
  22. ^ "Mark Hutton statistics". Baseball-Reference. Retrieved 7 August 2011.
  23. ^ "Shane Lindsay statistics". Baseball-Reference. Retrieved 4 September 2011.
  24. ^ a b c Stockman, Jennifer (24 December 2005). "2005 Inaugural Hall of Fame Inductees". Baseball Australia. Australian Baseball Federation. Archived from the original on 8 June 2011. Retrieved 7 August 2011.
  25. ^ "Graeme Llyod statistics". Baseball-Reference. Retrieved 7 August 2011.
  26. ^ a b "Damian Moss statistics". Baseball-Reference. Retrieved 7 August 2011.
  27. ^ a b "Peter Moylan statistics". Baseball-Reference. Retrieved 7 August 2011.
  28. ^ "Micheal Nakamura statistics". Baseball-Reference. Retrieved 7 August 2011.
  29. ^ "Dave Nilsson statistics". Baseball-Reference. Retrieved 7 August 2011.
  30. ^ "Trent Oeltjen statistics". Baseball-Reference. Retrieved 27 April 2010.
  31. ^ "Chris Oxspring statistics". Baseball-Reference. Retrieved 7 August 2011.
  32. ^ "Luke Prokopec statistics". Baseball-Reference. Retrieved 7 August 2011.
  33. ^ "Ryan Rowland-Smith statistics". Baseball-Reference. Retrieved 9 April 2015.
  34. ^ "Chris Snelling statistics". Baseball-Reference. Retrieved 7 August 2011.
  35. ^ "Josh Spence statistics". Baseball-Reference. Retrieved 7 August 2011.
  36. ^ "John Stephens statistics". Baseball-Reference. Retrieved 7 August 2011.
  37. ^ "Phil Stockman statistics". Baseball-Reference. Retrieved 7 August 2011.
  38. ^ "Brad Thomas statistics". Baseball-Reference. Retrieved 7 August 2011.
  39. ^ "Rich Thomas statistics". Baseball-Reference. Retrieved 7 August 2011.
  40. ^ "Lewis Thorpe statistics". Baseball-Reference. Retrieved 11 February 2020.
  41. ^ "Alexander Wells statistics". Baseball-Reference. Retrieved 26 June 2021.
  42. ^ "Aaron Whitefield statistics". Baseball-Reference. Retrieved 27 July 2020.
  43. ^ "Glenn Williams statistics". Baseball-Reference. Retrieved 7 August 2011.
  44. ^ "Jeff Williams statistics". Baseball-Reference. Retrieved 7 August 2011.
  45. ^ a b "1892 Championship Series". Baseball-Reference. Retrieved 7 August 2011.
  46. ^ "1996 World Series Game 4". Baseball-Reference. Retrieved 11 July 2011.
  47. ^ a b "1996 World Series". Baseball-Reference. Retrieved 7 August 2011.
  48. ^ a b "1998 World Series". Baseball-Reference. Retrieved 7 August 2011.
  49. ^ "Liam Hendriks MLB: Australian pitch makes history, cops Aaron Judge home run, video". Fox Sports. 4 October 2018. Retrieved 5 January 2019.
  50. ^ "2004 League Division Series". Baseball-Reference. Retrieved 7 August 2011.
  51. ^ "2008 League Division Series". Baseball-Reference. Retrieved 7 August 2011.
  52. ^ "2008 League Championship Series". Baseball-Reference. Retrieved 7 August 2011.
  53. ^ "2008 World Series". Baseball-Reference. Retrieved 7 August 2011.
  54. ^ "2010 League Division Series". Baseball-Reference. Retrieved 7 August 2011.
  55. ^ "2012 League Division Series". Baseball-Reference. Retrieved 9 October 2012.
  56. ^ "2013 League Division Series". Baseball-Reference. Retrieved 14 September 2013.
  57. ^ "2018 Wild Card Game". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved 5 January 2019.
  58. ^ "2019 Wild Card Game". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved 12 February 2020.
  59. ^ "2020 Wild Card Series". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved 12 February 2020.
  60. ^ "2020 AL Division Series". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved 12 February 2020.
  61. ^ "1996 League Division Series". Baseball-Reference. Retrieved 7 August 2011.
  62. ^ "1996 League Championship Series". Baseball-Reference. Retrieved 7 August 2011.
  63. ^ "1997 League Division Series". Baseball-Reference. Retrieved 7 August 2011.
  64. ^ "1998 League Division Series". Baseball-Reference. Retrieved 7 August 2011.
  65. ^ "1998 League Championship Series". Baseball-Reference. Retrieved 7 August 2011.
  66. ^ "2002 League Division Series". Baseball-Reference. Retrieved 7 August 2011.
  67. ^ "2010 League Division Series". Baseball-Reference. Retrieved 7 August 2011.
General sources