49 min

The strange death and curious rebirth of American cricket The Last Best Hope?

    • History

Cricket was once the most popular summer game in the United States – the first ever international match was played not, as you might expect between England and one of its colonies, but between Canada and the United States, in 1844. The first overseas England tour was to the US in 1859. The professional players earned the unheard-of sum of 90 pounds – America then, just as now, was an El Dorado of sporting riches. Yet just ten years later, after four years of civil war and the rebirth of a newly consolidated United States, the new sport of baseball had all but erased cricket from the New York sporting press. The prize money and betting markets that were once drawn to the cricket field now turned to the baseball diamond. As one old American cricketer sadly observed in his memoirs, “We had a large number of good young men playing the game up to the time when the war fever took hold of them. When hostility between North and South broke out, away went our players to the front and the cricket field was deserted. Those that returned from the war never took up the game again.” So, what went wrong? How can we explain the strange death of American cricket, and how should we explain its present-day partial revival?  Adam talks to Ed Smith, former England cricketer and an award-winning journalist and to Joe Lynn Curator at The C. Christopher Morris Cricket Library at Haverford College.


Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

Cricket was once the most popular summer game in the United States – the first ever international match was played not, as you might expect between England and one of its colonies, but between Canada and the United States, in 1844. The first overseas England tour was to the US in 1859. The professional players earned the unheard-of sum of 90 pounds – America then, just as now, was an El Dorado of sporting riches. Yet just ten years later, after four years of civil war and the rebirth of a newly consolidated United States, the new sport of baseball had all but erased cricket from the New York sporting press. The prize money and betting markets that were once drawn to the cricket field now turned to the baseball diamond. As one old American cricketer sadly observed in his memoirs, “We had a large number of good young men playing the game up to the time when the war fever took hold of them. When hostility between North and South broke out, away went our players to the front and the cricket field was deserted. Those that returned from the war never took up the game again.” So, what went wrong? How can we explain the strange death of American cricket, and how should we explain its present-day partial revival?  Adam talks to Ed Smith, former England cricketer and an award-winning journalist and to Joe Lynn Curator at The C. Christopher Morris Cricket Library at Haverford College.


Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

49 min

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