For an Englishman, now living in Scotland, my enthusiasm for baseball may seem a tad strange. Baseball does not enjoy a big following in Britain, and yet I developed a passion for the American national pastime at a tender age. By the time I was 12, I was playing in a competitive league and continued to do so for the next 20 years. During that time I played for the Enfield Spartans (British champions 1989, 1990 and 1991) and the Great Britain national team (1986, 1989 and 1991) and have played against such talented professionals as George Foster, Tug McGraw, Graig Nettles, Mark Fidrych and Luis Tiant.
As a baseball historian and author involved in research of the game for over 15 years, my interest in baseball focuses on the World War II era, and, in particular, the military service of professional players. In 2000, I founded the unique Baseball in Wartime website (www.baseballinwartime.com) - coinciding with the release of my first book Baseball in World War II Europe (Charleston, South Carolina: Arcadia Publishing 1999).
Since then I have written numerous articles, produced a monthly e-newsletter that has gained critical acclaim and have become recognized as a leading authority on WWII baseball. In November 2007, I was invited - as a keynote speaker and panel moderator - to the When Baseball Went to War conference at the National World War II Museum in New Orleans, which was attended by Bob Feller, Tommy Lasorda, Johnny Pesky, Jerry Coleman and many others. In 2008, I was a contributing author for the book celebrating this event - When Baseball Went to War (Chicago, IL: Triumph 2008).
In October 2009, I launched the Baseball in wartime blog (http://baseballinwartime.blogspot.com/) a daily updated forum of interesting articles relating to baseball during World War II.
In 2012, I will be launching a set of baseball cards dedicated to professional players who lost their lives during WWII. These cards will be based upon my unique online database of biographies for all 142 players who made the ultimate sacrifice (http://www.baseballinwartime.com/in_memoriam/in_memoriam.htm).
I currently run Gary Bedingfield Training Services in Glasgow, Scotland www.garybedingfield.co.uk.