BV Logo Header

Victorian Baseball's Historical Timeline

19th Century

September 1855 Earliest mention of “base-ball” in Australia (Tasmania)   

7 March 1857 Earliest mention of baseball in Victoria, Americans play first baseball game in Australia at Exhibition Gardens in Melbourne. “A match played between then Richmond & Collingwood members of the club played at Clayton Gardens on Saturday last” - Melbourne Baseball Club

5 & 12 June 1869 Another early mention of baseball: “First baseball game to be played this Saturday at the old Lonsdale Cricket Ground, near the Botanical Gardens bridge."

1879 St Kilda Baseball Club was established to play the Georgia Minstrels during their tour of Melbourne, the first overseas baseball tour of Australia. St Kilda is described as Australia's oldest non-continuous baseball club.

1888 Spalding Tour -  Games played in Melbourne  22/12 & 24/12 and Ballarat 29/12

1889 First Intercolonial Championship – played between Victoria and South Australia at the East Melbourne Cricket Ground. Won by SA 2 games to 1.

First official club games played in Melbourne. Clubs are formed by Harry Simpson from the Spalding Tour.

First game played in Geelong between local team and team from Melbourne.

First game of baseball played in Bendigo at the Back Creek Ground in Sandhurst, and “was promoted for the benefit of the local charities at the instance of the Hicks-Sawyers Minstrel Company”.   

The opening meeting of the Mildura Baseball Club on October 13. Later, in 1930, a recreational team was formed.  

1890 Victorian Baseball League (VBL) established

1898 First overseas tour by an Australian team with players from VIC and SA visits the USA and UK.

20th Century

1934  First Claxton Shield Competition held in Adelaide, comprising of Victoria, South Australia, and New South Wales - won by SA.

1936  Bendigo Baseball Association (BBA) was established with the season beginning in April. There were four teams: Cosmoes, Cricketers, Bendigo School of Mines (BSM), and State Electricity Commission (SEC).

1937  Geelong Baseball Association (GBA) was established with four teams: Fords, North West, South Geelong, and Newtown/Chilwell

Gippsland Baseball Association was formed, based around Yallourn, where baseball had been played since at least 1930. Teams included Fire Brigade, C.Y.M.S., Blues and Tigers.

1938 The Victorian Provincial Baseball League (VPBL) was established to serve and support the regionally based associations in Victoria. The inaugural meeting was held in Ballarat, with Ballarat, Bendigo, Geelong, and Dandenong as initial members.

The first VPBL Carnival was held in Ballarat with teams in two divisions: Colac, Bendigo, Ballarat, and  Northcote/Preston in Division 1 and Dandenong, Geelong and Gippsland in Division 2.

1947  Victoria wins the Claxton Shield for the first time. They go on to win the next two championships in 1948 and 1949.

1954  Echuca Baseball Association was formed, with four teams: Wildcats, Alsatians, Caledonians, and the Tarax Bears.

Victoria wins the Claxton Shield again.

1955 Mt. Gambier joins the VPBL and attends the VPBL Carnival at Ballarat. In 1960, Mt Gambier hosted the VPBL Carnival, the first held outside of Victoria.

1956 First night premiership games are played at Lakeside Oval, South Melbourne on 14 November.

Diamond Valley Baseball Leauge (DVBL) was established.

Victoria wins another Claxton Shield.

1958 Victoria wins the Claxton Shield, their sixth in 12 years.

1961 Sunraysia Baseball League was established. The league went into recess in 1973 but was re-established in 1979.

1962 Victoria brings home the Claxton Shield once more.

1963 Ringwood & District Baseball Association (R&DBA) formed. It had evolved from the Ringwood Baseball Club, established two years earlier in 1961.

1963-64 Bairnsdale Baseball Association (BBA) commenced. It would continue until 1987/88 when it folded.

1964  Latrobe Valley Baseball Association (LVBA) was established.

1965 Victoria wins the Claxton Shield. Graeme Deany wins the Helms Awards for the best player in the Claxton Shield tournament.

1968 Victoria wins the Claxton Shield and John Swanson receives the Helms Award.

1971 Victorian Ron McIvor wins the Helms Awards.

1972-1974 Victoria wins three more Claxton Shields, with Neil Buszard winning the Helms Award in 1974.

1976  Ringwood Baseball Association amalgamates with the Diamond Valley Baseball Association to form the Ringwood District & Diamond Valley Baseball Association.

1976-77  VBA moves its main competition to a summer league.

1977  City Baseball League was formed with six clubs that didn’t want to change to the new summer format.

Ron Owen wins the Helms Awards.

1979 Brian Wonnacott wins the Helms Award.

1981  North Eastern Baseball Association (NEBA) was established.

First Gippsland Championships held. Initially organised by the Bairnsdale & La Trobe Baseball Association, Melbourne metro teams have been involved in the championships since the Bairnsdale Association went into recess.

Victoria wins the Claxton Shield and John Hodges wins the Helms Award.

1982 Phil Dale becomes the first Victorian (and Australian) to win a 4-year scholarship to a USA college (Georgia Southern University). Undrafted out of college, Phil goes on to become the first Victorian to sign a professional contract with a Major League team, the Cincinnati Reds in 1985.

1984 Victorian Winter Baseball League (VWBL) formed through the merger of three previously established leagues: City Baseball League, Ringwood District Baseball League, and Diamond Valley Baseball Association. It became known as the Melbourne Winter Baseball League (MWBL) in 2010.

Victoria wins the Claxton Shield and Brett Ward wins the Helms Award.

1986 Victoria wins the Claxton Shield and Lindsay Orford wins the Helms Award.

1987 Crown land on Merton Street in Altona Meadows was selected as the site for construction of the new State Baseball Softball Centre.

1989 Construction of the new State Baseball Softball Centre was completed, costing $3.9m.

The Australian Baseball League (ABL) replaces the Claxton Shield as Australia's premier national baseball competition. Victoria is represented by the Melbourne Monarchs (owned by the VBA) and the Waverley Reds (owned by Waverley Baseball Club). Both teams played off in the inaugural finals series, which was won by the Waverley Reds, 2 games to 1.

1990 The State Baseball Softball Centre is officially opened on 26 January. A game between the Australian Senior Team and a touring Japanese Industrial League team was played to mark the occasion.

The Melbourne Bushrangers (owned by the Greenhills/Montmorency Baseball Club) joined the ABL and the Melbourne Monarchs departed the league as their licence was suspended.

November 1991 A record crowd of 11,444 attend the opening round of the ABL at VFL to watch the Waverley Reds down the Melbourne Bushrangers 13-6.

1992 The Melbourne Monarchs are reinstated into the ABL under the ownership of the Footscray Football Club. The Melbourne Monarchs win their first championship.

1993 Graeme Lloyd, from Geelong, is the first Victorian to play in Major Leagues Baseball (MLB). He debuts for the Milwaukee Brewers on 11 April.

1994-95 Inaugural season of women’s baseball in VBA competition.

1999 First Women’s Nationals are held in Melbourne. Victoria wins the first championship.

21st Century

2002 The Claxton Shield is reinstated as Australia's premier national baseball competition. Victoria wins the championship at the State Baseball Centre, Altona.

2003 Micheal Nakamura debuts in the Major Leagues for the Minnesota Twins on 7 June.

2004 Travis Blackley debuts in the Major Leagues for the Seattle Mariners on 1 July.

2005 Justin Huber debuts in the Major Leagues for the Kansas City Royals on 21 June.

Baseball Australia launches the Australian Baseball Hall of Fame. Inaugural Victorian inductees are Phil Dale, Graeme Deany, Don Deeble, Frank Laver, Graeme Lloyd, Harry Simpson, Ross Straw, and John Swanson.

2006 Peter Moylan debuts in the Major Leagues for the Atlanta Braves on 12 April.

2007 Talks commenced to unify the VBA and VPBL.

Brad Harman debuts in the Major Leagues for the Philadelphia Phillies on 22 April.

2008 Baseball Victoria Incorporated was created as a result of the unification of the VBA and the VPBL. Victoria wins the Claxton Shield, the Under 16 and Under 14 National Youth Championships as well as the Invitational Under 23 Tournament.

2010 Baseball Victoria launch the 'Summer League' brand for the traditional VBA competition.

Australian Baseball League (ABL) (mark II) is launched. The Melbourne Aces are also officially launched and announced the Melbourne Showgrounds as the venue from which they will play their home games.

2011 Josh Spence and Shane Lindsay both debut in the Major Leagues - Spence for the San Diego Padres on 24 June and Lindsay with the Chicago White Sox on 2 September.

2012 Simone Wearne is named into the Baseball Australia Hall of Fame as the first female inductee.

Victorians participate in the first National Under 15 Girls Championships with one team, ending the tournament as the runner-up behind the champions, New South Wales.

Melbourne Aces move their home games to the State Baseball Centre (Melbourne Ballpark)

Melbourne hosted the second annual ABL All-Star Game at Melbourne Ballpark - a game played between Team Australia and an ABL World All-Star Team. It was the first time in four years that Team Australia played in Victoria.

2013 Shae Lillywhite became the first Victorian (and Australian) woman to sign a professional contract when she signed with South Dione of the Japanese Women’s Baseball League (JWBL).

2016 James Beresford made his Major League Baseball debut for the Minnesota Twins on 10 September 2016.

2018 Geelong-Korea was named as one of two new Australian Baseball League (ABL) teams to enter the league in the 2018/19 season. The team would be based at Geelong Baseball Centre and feature a roster made of Korea Baseball Organisation (KBO) players.

2019 Lewis Thorpe made his Major League Baseball debut for the Minnesota Twins on 30 June. 

2020 Melbourne Aces win the 2019-20 ABL Championship & Claxton Shield, the first Victorian championship in the resurrected ABL

2021 Victoria held the National Showcase Series to replace the cancelled Australian Youth Championships.

Southern Mariners win gold at the Australian Senior League Championship.

2022 Victoria held a successful National Showcase Series for the second year in a row.

Victoria wins silver at the 2022 Australian Women's Baseball Championship in Adelaide. Just a few weeks later, a host of the sport’s biggest homegrown and international talent debut with the Victoria Aces at the 2022 Australian Women's Baseball Showcase in Geelong. Victoria wins the showcase title.

2023 The Victorian Women's State Team celebrates 25th anniversary and introduces a new legacy selection order.

2024 Victoria wins gold at the U18 Australian Youth Championship and bronze in the U16 event.


  • Victorian Baseball Association. 1935. Annual Report.
  • Trumble, Tom. 2012. "A History of Melbourne Cricket Club Baseball Section." Melbourne Baseball Club Website.
  • Victorian Provincial Baseball League. 2004. Annual Report.
  • Clark, Joe. 2003. "A History of Australian Baseball - Time and Game." University of Nebraska Press.
  • Victorian Baseball Association. 2009. Annual Report.
  • Collins, Kingsley. 2010. "Aces unfold in City Square." Baseball Victoria Website.
  • Collins, Kingsley. 2012. "Ballpark treated to major makeover." Baseball Victoria Website.
linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram