Baseball has been played in China for more than 100 years, but has experienced periods of ups-and-downs.
In 1873, with the advocacy of “Chinese learning as the base, Western learning for the application”, the government of Qing Dynasty sent 30 youngsters to study in the United States, including Zhan Tianyou, who later became a famous railway engineer. When studying in the US, these students set up the Chinese Baseball Team at Yale University. Upon their return, they brought the game to China. This is the earliest record of baseball in China.
Huiwen Academy of Classical Learning in Beijing founded its baseball team in 1895. In 1907, Huiwen Academy and Xiehe Academy in Tongzhou Organized the first baseball game in China.
Baseball began being played at the Far East Games, mostly by students from China, Japan and the Philippines, in 1913. China usually finished behind Japan and the Philippines.
Before the founding of the People’s Republic of China in 1949, baseball was an official sport at the National Games, but with few participating teams and poor competition skills.
In the early years of New China, baseball was widely played in grassroots units of the People’s Liberation Army. The first National Games in 1959 featured 23 baseball teams. However, national baseball competitions were cancelled in 1961, only to be resumed in the early 1970s.
In the past 20 years, baseball has been growing fast among teenagers. The Chinese teenage baseball team has won 7 World Junior Kenko Baseball Championships. China now has 10 senior baseball teams at the provincial level, and over 50 registered collegiate teams. The College Baseball League is held every year.
Since its first appearance in the Asian Baseball Championships in 1985, the Chinese national team, which consists of top players from provincial teams, has long been ranked fourth. Meanwhile, Japan, Korea and Chinese Taipei rank among the world’s top 5 and have taken the top 3 places in the past Olympic Games and World Cup. At the 25th Asian Baseball Championships in 2005, China made a historic breakthrough by winning the bronze medal by defeating Korea.
In 1990 and 1991, China successfully hosted the baseball demonstration games in the 11th Asian Games and the 16th Asian Baseball Championships, indicating an even higher Chinese position in international baseball.
In recent year, Chinese Baseball has started entered in to a rapid development period with help of Japan and USA partners. Chinese Baseball Association first launched Chinese Baseball League in 2002 with 4 professional teams, leading Chinese Baseball into a new development cycle. Following the pace, Chinese National Baseball Team historically defeated Korea Team in 2005 Asia Championship, first time in history qualifies to IBAF world Cup.
2008 China hosted XXIX Olympic Games, Chinese Baseball started to show its power to the world through the Olympic platform, with the historic first victory against Chinese Taipei team. 1 year later, China received another victory against Chinese Taipei in the 2009 World Baseball Classic. Thus, Chinese Baseball has picked up its pace in advancing to the international high level baseball.