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The Baseball Ground: All you need to know - Tickets, Direction, Weather (2022)

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Baseballground

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Nicole Sommer - Soccer expert Last updated: Monday, 27.June 2022 — 3min read

History and description

The Baseball Ground was built in 1890 by Sir Francis Ley, who had destined it for a newly formed baseball team after he had become inspired by the sport during a trip to the USA. Derby County struggled to make baseball popular, though in 1895 they reached a deal with Ley to become the permanent tenant of the ground. Ley in turn invested £7,000 to raise the capacity from 4,000 to 20,000 places.

Derby played their first match at the ground on September 14, 1895. Approximately 10,000 spectators saw them beat Sunderland 2-0.

Derby decided to buy the freehold on the baseball ground from Francis Ley in the early 1920s.

Soon after the promotion to the First Division, Derby promoted to the division and built a new main stand designed by Archibald Leitch. After the stand was completed, attention turned to the opposite side (the Popular Side), where the terrace got enlarged and fitted with a cover.

The crowds at Derby kept growing though, and in 1933 a new double-decker stand was built at the Osmaston End. Two years later a similar stand was built at the opposite end, which lifted capacity to a total of 38,000.

In 1969, the club once again promoted to the First Division. Ley Stand was extensively redeveloped and renamed in honour of Sir Francis Ley.

The redevelopment of the Baseball Ground increased its capacity to just over 40,000 people, and this made it one of the few English stadiums with seating as well as standing areas on all sides. Soon after, in 1969, it recorded its highest attendance when 41,826 people visited a home match against Tottenham Hotspur.

During the mid-1970s Derby's sporting successes and finances slowly deteriorated, with only measures to keep the increasing number of hooligans at bay being made to the stadium.

In the early 1990s, the Baseball Ground got converted into an all-seater following the publication of the Taylor Report. This resulted in a capacity of 18,300 seats.

Many people found the ground unsuitable for being an all-seater, which led to many difficulties. Plans were then made to rebuild three of the four stands only leaving the Ley Stand intact.

The club's predicament means that it will have to leave its cherished home, which will rob the Baseball Ground of much of its character. This won't offer a solution for the access difficulties.

The club decided to change their plans and announced in February 1996 that they had acquired land to build a new stadium. Construction of Pride Park Stadium commenced later in 1996 and was completed in the summer of 1997.

Derby played its last match on the 11th of May 1997 at the Baseball Ground against Arsenal. The home side lost the match 1-3.

The ground was used for reserve matches for a few seasons but then was sold to property developers. It finally got demolished in 2003 and was replaced by residential housing. In 2010 a commemorative statue of three football players was revealed at the place where once stood the Baseball Ground.

In 26 May 2020, Steve Moss wrote: Nothing ever compared to standing on the Popside Level with Alan Hinton as he floated in those inch perfect corners. We used to love comparing the immaculate pitch in the programme with the quagmire that was our twelfth man. Football heaven, except for the men's? look!

Standing on the Popside level with Alan Hinton, I loved comparing the immaculate pitch in the programme with the quagmire that was our twelfth man. Football heaven, except for the men's? look!

It certainly was for my Sheffield United, for in eight visits from 1969 to 1975 (6 league, 1 FA Cup and 1 Watney Cup) we lost them all, three by three goals. I doubt whether Pride Park, or whatever they call it now, can generate the same atmosphere!

It was clear that it would not be as much fun for me (Sheffield United), as I lost every time we played at Pride Park, or whatever they call it now. I doubt whether the atmosphere at the new stadium will be as exciting for fans!

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The group of young students looked at the map with excitement. The group of students looked at the map with anticipation.

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