Women’s Pioneer, First Scorekeeper, Four National Team Members Honoured
- The British Baseball Hall of Fame (BBHOF) announces its 2022 inductees, the 13th class elected since its foundation in 2009. Exactly fifty players, officials, and game builders are now enshrined.
- The Modern Committee (candidates active after 1980) elected Brian Holland, Richard Klijn, Frank Parker Jr., Stephan Rapaglia, and Ryan Trask.
- The Historic Committee selected Doreen Megson, a pioneer for women in baseball in the U.K.
- Holland is the first-ever scorekeeper and one of only three game officials enshrined.
- Parker was inducted two years after his father, Frank Sr. They become the only father-son pairing in the BBHOF.
- Klijn, Parker, Rapaglia, and Trask all wore the national uniform of Great Britain.
LONDON, U.K., 12 January 2023 — The British Baseball Hall of Fame is pleased to announce the Class of 2022, including a trailblazer for women in baseball in Britain, the first scorekeeper ever elected, and four Great Britain national team members. Brian Holland, Richard Klijn, Frank Parker Jr., Stephan Rapaglia, and Ryan Trask were elected by the Modern Committee, with all but Rapaglia honoured in their first year on the ballot. Meanwhile, the Historic Committee selected another rookie candidate, Doreen Megson, a pioneer for women in baseball in the U.K. Exactly fifty men and women are now enshrined in the BBHOF for their superlative contributions to British baseball.
If the word ‘scorebook’ was synonymous with only one person in British baseball history, it would be Brian Holland. A chance turn of the radio dial as a young man turned into a lifelong obsession that brought him—scorebook in hand—to cities across England and Scotland and the best seat in the house for almost every important baseball game between the mid-1960s and 2007. Holland was the official scorekeeper for the first official game for Great Britain and for every CEB1 event hosted in the U.K., with his ever-present scorebooks opened at venues like Old Trafford, Stamford Bridge, Selhurst Park, and The Oval. Few can claim to have even been present at as many British national championships as Holland—at least fourteen in total—let alone filling a crucial role in an official capacity.
Richard Klijnretired in 2020 after a storied and decorated career. At the international level, Klijn played in eight major competitions for Great Britain, including a World Cup, five European Championships, and two World Baseball Classic Qualifiers. Upon retirement, he ranked as GB’s second most-capped player and was sixth on the career hit list (32). Klijn also holds the record for most hits in a single tournament (12) by a British-born player, compiled at the 2016 European Championship. At the club level, he played 12 seasons in Germany’s Bundesliga 1, winning five national championships, each a record for British-born players.
The middle link in three generations of talented GB Baseball players, Frank Parker, Jr. was one of the top hitters of the 1980s and 90s. Best known as one Great Britain’s top sluggers and son of Hall-of-Famer Frank Sr., Frank Jr. picked up where his father left off, playing in six European Championships and nine other events over a storied 18-year international career, retiring with his name littered across GB’s team record book. When hanging up his spikes, no GB player had driven home as many of his teammates as Parker (19 RBI) and he was second in home runs (3) and slugging percentage (.545), third in career hits (23), and No. 5 in batting average (.348, 50 at bat minimum). All of those figures are still in the top five. Domestically, Parker earned two all-star nods and delivered key hits in the national playoffs and cup.
In a sport where men tend to dominate, Doreen Megson was not only a trailblazer for women in British baseball, but played a pivotal role in Hull’s emergence as the hub of baseball activity in the U.K. after World War II. In early 1953—still only in her twenties, and with four Hull Ladies’ League titles under her belt—she became the first known woman in England to pass an umpire’s exam. Megson was only just getting started, however, as she became a nationally renowned technical administrator and organised England’s first official CEB1 event. By her retirement in the mid-90s, she had been part of the Technical Commission at two European Championships and the 1976 National Championship (possibly others), served as secretary for the busy Humberside League for many years, organised countless youth programmes, and even played in what is likely the first-ever international softball game in Britain.
Stephan Rapaglia served as the Great Britain National Team’s head coach for seven years, beginning in 2004, and led the squad to one of its greatest performances in European Baseball history—a silver medal at the 2007 Euros in Spain. It was only the second time Great Britain had won a medal in European Championships, and no other squad since has equalled the feat. Rapaglia skippered GB in three European Championships and the 2009 World Cup. Notably, he was able to recruit a number of high-profile players to the GB squad, including Mike Nickeas and Brant Ust, the most prominent newcomers ever to feature on the British national team.
Ryan Trask found his way to Bracknell after moving to the UK from South Africa in 1999 and made his senior baseball debut one year later at only 14 years old. His contributions to Bracknell as a young player were significant and he was an invaluable member of the Blazers’ 2009 National Championship squad. Trask was also a regular for Great Britain, suiting up in a dozen events between 2002–13. In domestic competition, he ranks in the top eight in six career statistical categories and holds two single-game records. The catcher-outfielder offered a particularly rare blend of power and speed, retiring with the fifth-most stolen bases (106) and home runs (28) all-time. Only one other national leaguer, Hall-of-Famer Alan Bloomfield, retired with more than 100 swipes and five homers.
Full candidate biographies are appended below. Details of the 2022 British Baseball Hall of Fame induction festivities, if possible, will be released at a later date, in accordance with government guidelines for public health. Biographies, statistical highlights, and photos of the previous 12 classes of inductees can be found at bbhof.org.uk.
Official Comments on the Announcement
Gabriel Fidler, BBHOF Chair
‘This year’s British Baseball Hall of Fame inductees showcase the rich history, diverse nature, and quality of baseball in Britain. The election of multiple members of the national team of Great Britain, with careers spanning four decades, reveals the growth of the G.B. programme as it prepares for its first-ever appearance in the highest level of the World Baseball Classic. Just as importantly, the Class of 2022 also honours the first female umpire in British history and its most prolific scorekeeper. These six inductees—who discovered the sport through a local girls’ club, radio broadcasts of games, watching a father contest his Hall-of-Fame career, and the practice of a familiar activity after emigrating to the U.K.—also underscore two of baseball’s best attributes—anyone can play, and all are welcome.’
‘I am particularly pleased with the selection of Doreen Megson for British baseball’s greatest honour. Megson was truly a pioneer, both for women’s baseball as an important part of the bat-and-ball landscape, but even more so for her rugged determination to earn certification as an umpire in her early 20s—despite being told she could not officiate any games. Megson is a role model for all girls and women in as sport, making significant contributions to league and youth programmes in the tough environment of post-WWII Hull and later at the national level as an adroit scorekeeper and technical official.’
‘One of the most overlooked—yet crucial—roles in the highly technical sport of baseball is that of scorekeeper. Despite every game featuring a scorer, until now, no statistician had been honoured with induction into the British Baseball Hall of Fame. Brian Holland quite deservedly becomes the first scorekeeper enshrined, entering the Hall at the same time as Doreen Megson, herself a nationally renowned technical official.’
‘Since last year, ongoing research into the almost 300-year history of baseball in the U.K. has revealed inspiring stories, new champions, and details of many other intriguing people and teams. All of this important work is accomplished by volunteers, and further enhances the already rich archive of material at Project COBB, which shines an important light on British culture in the last 150 years. I look forward this year to hearing these stories told and honouring local trailblazers and heroes from the grassroots level to international sporting stars.’
Class of 2022 by the Numbers
- Five of the inductees were elected in their first year on the ballot, shattering the previous record of two.
- The six total selections make the Class of 2022 the second-largest ever after 2012 (7).
- The induction of three non-playing nominees ties the all-time record, set in 2010.
- This ballot marks the seventh consecutive year with at least two candidates elected.
- With two officials and one game builder elected, the latest group of inductees reverses a trend of player-dominated classes, in which 17 of the last 19 successful nominees entered under the ‘Baseball Players’ category. Of the first 25 men and women enshrined, almost half (12) were from the other two classifications.
- The city of Hull now boasts nine inductees, second only to Greater London, with Megson and Parker enshrined.
- The Sutton Braves now feature three Hall-of-Famers, with Holland following Alan Bloomfield and Peter Crook. Only three clubs can claim more honourees (Brighton Buccaneers and London Warriors, 5; London Mets, 4).
- Trask is the third South African inducted (Ryan Bird, Umpire Ted Gerard-Thesingh).
- Out of 35 total players, Trask is also only the third catcher admitted to the BBHOF, while Parker is the third 1B and Richard Klijn is the second player primarily known for playing 2B (among seven middle infielders).
Details of Note by Inductee
- Holland was official scorekeeper for at least 14 national championships and both of the official continental (CEB) tournaments held in the U.K., making him one of the most prolific game officials in British baseball history.
- Klijn is the most successful British-born player in Germany’s semi-professional Baseball-Bundesliga.
- Megson became the first known woman to pass an umpire’s exam in 1953 and served in an official role in Britain’s only CEB events.
- Megson was also a talented player, winning four consecutive Hull Ladies’ League titles from 1949–52 and playing in the first-ever international softball game recorded in the U.K.
- When Parker retired in 1996, he ranked in the top five for Great Britain in five career stats. All five totals still rank among the five-best all-time.
- Rapaglia becomes only the second GB skipper (Michael Harrold) and third official (Harrold, Alan Smith) elected.
BBHOF by the Numbers
- There are three categories for induction: Baseball Players, Coaches, Manages, Umpires, and Other Officials, and Game Builders. Election is through the selection on a simple majority of the ballots.
- Five criteria are considered for induction, with election to the Hall of Fame reserved for ‘superlative contributions to and/or performances in the game of baseball in Great Britain’. Categories and criteria may be viewed at: http://www.bbhof.org.uk/files/bbhof_induction.pdf.
- In 2021, the Board of Electors added three new members, with its total now 13. The full list of electors is available on the BBHOF homepage.
- The modern and historical committees consider an average of 15 candidates and make an average of 5.4 selections per ballot. In 2022, 17 nominees were listed (the largest since 2011), 12 on the modern ballot (the all-time record, with only one ballot released from 2009–15).
About the British Baseball Hall of Fame (BBHOF)
In 2019, only a few weeks after the historic London Series, the sport celebrated the 270th Anniversary of the first recorded baseball game in history, which took place on 12 Sep. 1749 in Walton-on-Thames. The rich history of the sport since then—including a total of 93 known national champions between 1890 and 2022—led to the formation of the BBHOF by Project COBB founder Joe Gray, for the purpose of ‘honouring our history, inspiring the future’. Its Board of Electors includes 13 members, all distinguished members of the British baseball community. Nominees may be proposed by members of the public, while electors and a panel of Regional Experts also recommend, research, and compose biographies of potential inductees. The Hall is endorsed by the national governing body of the sport, the British Baseball Federation.
About Project COBB
Project COBB is the archive for baseball in the UK, including the official archival resource for Great Britain Baseball national teams. Those interested in the broader history of baseball in Britain—including a list of all known national champions between 1890-2020, a wide variety of historical documents, statistics, published research, and much more—should visit www.projectcobb.org.uk. If you have any records, statistics, clippings, programmes, or other items of interest not already featured in the archive that you are willing to scan, loan, or donate, you are encouraged to write to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Press Contact: Gabriel Fidler
Full Candidate Biographies (Inductees from both committees listed alphabetically)
Scorekeeper: Domestic championships (14), Great Britain, CEB. Team scorekeeper: Sutton Braves (early 1960s–1991), Old Timers (c. 1986–96), Southern Tigers (1987–89), London Athletics/Warriors (1992–2005), Richmond Flames (2006–07). Umpire: Southern League (1960s), Old Timers (c. 1986–96).
If the word ‘scorebook’ was synonymous with only one person in British baseball history, it would be Sutton’s Brian Holland. A chance turn of the radio dial as a young man turned into a lifelong obsession that brought him—scorebook in hand—to cities across England and Scotland and the best seat in the house for almost every important baseball game between the mid-1960s and 2007. Holland was the official scorekeeper for the first-ever game for an official Great Britain squad and for every CEB event hosted in the U.K., with his ever-present scorebooks opened at venues like Old Trafford, Stamford Bridge, Selhurst Park, and The Oval. Few can claim to have even been present at as many British national championships as Holland—at least fourteen in total—let alone in an official capacity.
As recounted to Joe Gray,2 Holland’s first experience with baseball came one evening in the early 1960s. As he toyed with his radio dial, unfamiliar commentary stayed his hand, and it turned out to be one of the many baseball games then broadcast for the benefit of U.S.A.F. personnel. Baseball, Holland decided, had ‘an intriguing quality’ and a scan of the Evening News sent his baseball odyssey to games at the U.S. Navy’s Sutton ballpark and Selhurst Park.
Shortly thereafter, Holland received a flyer advertising a newly forming club, the Sutton Braves, and decided to try out. Although he earned a spot on the roster as a rightfielder—‘the position where I could do least damage’—he soon swapped leather and lumber for paper and pencil. Holland’s radio served as his tutor as he listened to games—often into the wee hours, as so many British fans do—and kept score, comparing his box scores to the official ones in The Sporting News, available in the U.K after a roughly three-week delay.
It was not long before Holland’s prowess as a precise and technical scorekeeper caught the attention of British baseball administrators, who offered the fresh-faced Brave a dream role: official scorekeeper for Great Britain’s first-ever game, a home international against the Netherlands on 8 August 1965 at Selhurst Park. Although teams representing England had played occasionally since 1907, this event marked the debut for the GB side and the first game between national teams on British soil—or, indeed, anywhere—since 1952. Great Britain boasted four future Hall-of-Famers, but lost a 3-1 nail-biter to the Dutch.
From this point, Holland’s scorekeeping star continued to rise. In 1976, he scored his first known national championship, also keeping book at the 1979 final. The 1980s, however, were Holland’s most far-ranging in terms of historic events. In 1982, he scored the UK vs. US All-Stars exhibition at Stamford Bridge and, a year later, returned to Chelsea’s venerable ground to keep tally as the Pittsburgh Young Pirates (featuring future MLB pitcher Curtis Leskanic) took on the London All-Stars. In 1984, Britain hosted its first-ever CEB event, the European Championship B-Pool, and Holland was, of course, on the ‘book. It was the first of three Euros as official scorekeeper for Holland, repeating in 1988 and 1996.
Holland rounded out the decade as scorer for two important events in 1989. The season’s grand finale was at Old Trafford Cricket Ground, where GB matched up against a U.S. all-star team that featured legends Bob Feller, Willie Stargell, and Billy Williams. That summer, the U.K. hosted its first CEB Cup, the European Cup B-Pool. Holland was official scorer, a position he filled at the only other CEB event on British soil, the 1992 Cupwinners’ Cup B-Pool.
National Championship games and tournaments in the 1980s and onwards would have looked much different without Holland. He was called on to score the 1983, 1987–89 (SANL), 1989, and 2001—07 championships (possibly many others), along with many cup and all-star games and youth nationals, often also serving as Scoring Commissioner (or similar) at these events. It was not all trophy contests, either, as Holland regularly gave clinics from the mid-80s to mid-90s and co-founded the Scorers’ Association in the 2000s with Clive Maude. He served on the British Baseball Federation (BBF) Board for a decade and was—at various times and for numerous years—National Statistician, BBF South Official Statistician, and a member of the BBF Technical Committee.
None could question Holland’s dedication to his domestic clubs, either, as he was a team scorekeeper for more than 30 years consecutively. In his early days with the Braves, he sometimes scored games while playing in them—racing from the grass to his scorebook between innings—and took up umpiring as well, once even serving as official umpire and scorer! Holland also served one year as manager, continuing to umpire throughout the 1960s (and less regularly through the mid-80s). By 1985, he was also club president, a role he held for several seasons. Before hanging up his pencil sharpener after the 2007 Finals, the BBF granted Holland the rare honour of Life Member.
Richard Klijn |Category: Baseball players
Second Baseman-Shortstop: Great Britain (2008–19); Cartmel Valley Lions (mid-2000s), Manchester Eagles (2006–07), Legionaere Regensburg* (2008–14), Munich-Haar Disciples* (2015–19) [*Germany’s Baseball-Bundesliga].
Richard Klijn retired in 2020 after a storied and decorated career. At the international level, Klijn played in eight major competitions for Great Britain, including a World Cup, five European Championships, and two World Baseball Classic Qualifiers. At the club level, he played in 12 seasons in Germany’s Bundesliga 1, winning five national championships, each a record for British-born players. Upon retirement, he ranked as Great Britain’s second most-capped player and was sixth on the career hit list (32). Klijn also holds the record for most hits in a single tournament (12) by a British-born player, compiled at the 2016 European Championship.
Born in 1990 in Barrow-in-Furness, on the borders of the Lake District, Klijn was introduced to baseball by his father at the age of six. By his tenth birthday, his talent had not gone unnoticed and he was invited to join the British Baseball Academy, where his skills as an infielder were nurtured. After playing for Great Britain’s U12s, U15s, and U18s, he was selected for the MLB European Elite Academy in 2008 and earned his first Senior GB cap in the same year, under Head Coach Stephan Rapaglia.
Klijn played in five European Championships (2010, 2012, 2014, 2016, 2019), two World Baseball Classic Qualifiers (2012, 2016), and a Baseball World Cup (2009). He was capped by the Senior National Team 40 times, second only to Brad Marcelino (Class of 2018).
With excellent plate discipline, speed and savviness on the basepaths, and a stellar middle infield glove, many of his contributions did not show up in the box score. Primarily a second baseman, his best performance in a GB uniform came at the 2016 European Championship. He led the team with a .364 batting average (sixth best overall), including two doubles and a home run, and his 12 hits are the most by a British-born player in a major tournament. In the final two games of the tournament, Klijn put in a 5-for-11 performance with eight total bases to help GB secure European Championship status.
‘When I first knew Richard as a 15- or 16-year-old, he was one of the most talented players on the field despite having less experience,’recalled MLB Scout and former British baseball stalwart Tom Gillespie. ‘[H]e was and is a good athlete. But he also played with energy and learned quickly, both from teaching and from the game itself. He was always looking for challenges, which first led him to baseball, then the GB juniors, and soon after to Regensburg.
Klijn began his career with the Cartmel Valley Lions. In 2008 he moved to Germany to attend the Regensburg Academy, beginning a decorated career with the Legionaere. While developing within the Academy and playing primarily second division baseball, he helped the club to a Bundesliga 1 title in 2008. In 2010 he cemented his place as the first team Second Baseman and the Legionaere embarked upon a span of four consecutive national championships.
Klijn enjoyed five more seasons in Bundesliga 1 from 2015–19 with the Munich-Haar Disciples. He put together his best offensive season in 2015, slashing .317/.329/.392 while also amassing 81 assists, good for second-best in the division. Across almost 1,200 career at bats in Germany, Klijn racked up 329 hits and a .276 batting average, bagged 100 stolen bases, and played airtight defense.
‘The thing that always stood out about Richard is the joy he brings to the field every day. He’s happy to be at training after a day of working physical labor, and he’s excited to make a routine play at the end of a doubleheader, no matter the score. He’s a competitor and a great teammate–expecting their best and encouraging everyone,’ concluded Gillespie. ‘He remains loved in Regensburg and by many of his teammates across the years with GB. Richard Klijn has been a great representative of British baseball, as a player and as a man, for nearly 20 years. I can’t imagine a person more fitting for [election to the British Baseball Hall of Fame].’
The veteran’s last appearance was for GB’s Lions at the 2019 European Championship. Klijn drove in the tying runs before stealing second and scoring to help record a defeat over Austria, marking GB’s 5th win of the tournament, which matched a programme-best mark set in 2007.
‘It’s been a real privilege to witness so much of Richard’s international career. He’s been a rock for the programme, an exceptional teammate, and a tremendous example of what is possible when talent is matched by grit and determination,’remarked his long-time GB Head Coach, Liam Carroll. ‘His is an inspirational story, and one that I hope is immortalised sooner rather than later by induction into the British Baseball Hall of Fame.’
In a sport where men tend to dominate, Doreen Megson was not only a trailblazer for women in British baseball, but played a pivotal role in Hull’s emergence as the hub of baseball activity in the U.K. after World War II. Megson began her hardball career while still in school and had already made headlines within a few years. In early 1953, still only in her twenties, she became the first known woman in England to pass an umpire’s exam. Her influence did not end there, though, as she was a nationally renowned technical administrator and organised England’s first official continental event. By the time she retired in the mid-90s, she had been named to the Technical Commission at two European Championship tournaments and the 1976 National Championship (and possibly at others), likely also helping to organise each, served as secretary for the busy Humberside League for many years, organised countless youth leagues and events, penned articles as Hull correspondent for the Baseball Courier and Baseball Mercury, and even made a guest appearance in what is likely to have been the first-ever international softball game in Britain.
Megson could quite have easily turned her back on the game after making history as the first qualified female umpire. After all, in describing her accomplishment, the Hull Baseball Gazette noted, ‘Of course, Mrs. Megson will not be able to officiate any League matches but her spirit in sitting for, and passing the examination shows the keen interest which is one of the main reasons behind the success of the Maybury Ladies Club.’ The Hull arbiters, however, did their best to make up for this unfortunate adherence to convention. ‘The local [umpires] have shown their pleasure in her achievement by electing Doreen as the first, and only, honorary member of their Society.’3.
The article references the Maybury Ladies B.C., which is where Megson began playing, likely in 1948. Hull’s ‘Ladies’ League’, as it was known, began play in 1937 and, pausing during the war and the initial recovery period for the devastated Humber port. Maybury was founded in 1949 and, with Megson on the roster, won four consecutive Hull titles, along with the 1949 and 1950 Sailors’ Orphanage Cups, the 1950 Mary Ransome Trophy, and the 1952 Ladies’ Knock-Out Cup. In fact, Maybury was so dominant in the four-team league that its defeat in the 1951 Knock-Out final was its first-ever loss. Megson was club secretary for at least 1952 and quite likely held the position in other years as well.
It was not long before Megson branched out, studying for her umpire’s certification over the 1952–53 winter and holding the title of Minute Secretary for the Hull District and Area Baseball League (HDABL) from at least 1953. Records are very patchy for the 1960s and early 70s, but Megson certainly wrote for the Baseball Courier and, later, the Mercury, and was listed as Humberside League Secretary by 1973. By 1977, she had bee named the lead contact for baseball in Humberside.
Having triumphed over the umpires’ exam, Megson also qualified as an official scorekeeper, and served in various technical roles at several prestigious events (and quite likely many others as well). In 1976, she was named to the Technical Commission for the 1976 National Championship. She reprised this role at the 1988 European B-Pool Championship in Birmingham and the 1996 B-Pool Euros in Hull, the latter of which in particular was considered a fine success.
From the 1970s onward, Megson was also involved with Hull’s burgeoning schools and youth programmes, a key area of emphasis for the Humberside League. By 1995, she had been named Regional Coordinator for the FBI/BBF School Programme, at the time considered ‘comprehensively the most successful private baseball program in Europe’4). She was co-host for a large youth tournament in Hull in 1994 and was also involved with the Mets’ youth team.
Committee roles in the area are hard to trace over this period, but Megson was the Humberside Mets’ Honourary Secretary in 1995, and it was clear that she had already been significant involved with the club. Among her duties that year was the organising committee for the 1995 VE Day Tournament, which featured a Great Britain split squad, playing as two teams, plus the Mets and USAF Menwith Hill.
Megson still had time to occasionally don a glove, making a guest appearance between the lines with the Litherland H.S. Wildcats (Merseyside) softball team in what is likely to have been the first-ever international softball game in Britain. The 1979 contest saw Litherland defeated by Amsterdam’s Canon de Spartaan, 22-9. Megson was noted as an ‘experienced’ player.
Frank Parker, Jr. |Category: Baseball players
First Baseman, Pitcher, and Second Baseman: Great Britain (1980–97); Lancashire Red Sox (-1988-), Humberside Mets (-1994-), Kingston Cobras (-1997-).
The middle link in three generations of talented GB Baseball players, Parker Jr. was one of the top sluggers of the 1980s and 90s. Best known as one GB’s top sluggers and son of Hall-of-Famer Frank Sr., he played in six European Championships and nine other events over a storied 18-year international career, retiring with his name littered across Great Britain’s national team record book. Parker also earned two all-star nods in the three years of his career for which selections are known and posted several clutch performances in the national playoffs and knockout cup.
When the younger Frank Parker retired, he was tied with teammate Mark Vickers for the all-time RBI lead with 19, second in home runs (3) and slugging percentage (.545), third in career hits (23), and No. 5 in average among those with more than 50 AB (.348). How have those records held up over the intervening decade-and-a-half? Parker and Vickers are tied for fourth in RBI, he has dropped a single spot in home runs, one behind major leaguer Chris Berset. He is also third in slugging, behind only Brownlie and Hall-of-Famer Brant Ust. His career average is still in the top five as well. It is also possible, though difficult to verify, that at retirement, Parker had appeared in more events for Great Britain than any player previously, an incredible feat considering the paucity of international play for British teams at any level in the 1980s.
Parker established himself as a power bat at a very young age, launching two home runs in a surprise win for Hull Junior Baseball in the ‘customary Players v. Coaches game’ in 1974. Parker was not yet even 13! This earned him his first call-up to the national team in 1980 at only 18 years old. By the time of his first appearance in a European Championship in 1984, his youthful exploits had turned into national notoriety and international success.
Great Britain’s offence of the early-to-mid-90s was dominated by three players: Frank Parker, Jr., Hull teammate Mark Vickers, and Ray Brownlie. When the members of this triumvirate hung up their cleats after the 1997 Euros (Brownlie retiring one year prior), one of the three was the all-time national team recordholder in home runs, slugging percentage, runs, and RBI, holding tournament records in most of these categories as well. The other two usually held down at least one of the other top-three performances.
Parker was no exception to this standard, but did so through consistent results in one tournament after another, rather than a massive performance in only a single event or two. The hard-hitting first baseman did record plenty of highlights, though, including three-hit games against Switzerland and San Marino en route to a .500 average in 1992, driving in nine runs in six games in 1994, equalling teammate Ray Brownlie for the second-most ever to that point, and recording a team-leading .429 average in 1996. Although fielding records are scarce, Parker was no one-dimensional slugger, either, playing flawless first base over 28 defensive chances at the European Championship A-Pool in 1991.
Statistics are almost entirely missing for Parker’s domestic career, though he was a National Premier League North All-Star in 1995 at DH and 1997 at 1B (part of an all-Hull Mets infield, including battery). He played in the Scottish Amicable National League in at least 1988, launching a solo shot for Lancashire in the only game for which a wrap is known.
In 1994, he was tied for the league lead in saves (2) and had also earned at least one victory. One year later, Parker appeared to play a wide-ranging role for the 23-1 Humberside Mets. In the season’s penultimate game, Parker earned the win on the mound, then went 4-for-5 with 3 runs in the Mets’ 14–10 win over Bedford Chicksands in the Knockout Cup Finals. Then, in the Premier League semifinals, Parker stole home in Game I. In 1996, he was third in the league in RBI, with 30 (only three behind leader Brownlie).
Near the end of his career, Parker served as a player-coach for the GB Seniors in at least one event, the 1996 Flanders International Baseball Tournament. One of Hull baseball’s royal families also added a generation when Frank Jr.’s son Dan was born. The youngest Parker would go on to join the Great Britain programme, playing in the 2010 European Junior Championship Qualifier.
Stephan Rapaglia |Category: Coaches, managers, umpires and others (Coach)
Great Britain Head Coach (2004–10)
Stephan Rapaglia served as the Great Britain National Team’s head coach for seven years, beginning in 2004, and led the squad to one of its greatest performances in European Baseball history—a silver medal at the 2007 Euros in Spain. It was only the second time Great Britain had won a medal in European Championships, and no other squad since has equalled the feat. The other, also a silver medal, occurred in 1967. However, the 2007 result is arguably more impressive as, in 1967, neither of the continent’s two most powerful countries, Netherlands and Italy, played. In addition, the side’s five victories in 2007, marked the most ever won by a GB team at a top-tier Euros.
Rapaglia skippered GB in three European Championships and the 2009 World Cup. Notably, he was able to recruit several high-profile players to the GB squad, including Mike Nickeas and Brant Ust, the most prominent newcomers ever to feature on the British national team. Nickeas would go on to play parts of four seasons in the Major Leagues, but in 2007 was still a young prospect, one who had advanced to Double-A in his fourth year, had two silver medals for the U.S. Junior NT, and All-Star honours from the 2001 Junior Pan-American Games and 2004 Northwest League. Meanwhile, Ust had reached Triple-A, played twice for the U.S., and been Big East Rookie of the Year (1997) and Player of the Year (1998) for Notre Dame. With Great Britain, Ust would be named MVP at the 2007 Euros and Nickeas would earn All-Tournament accolades.
On occasion, Rapaglia joined the squad on the field, playing in six friendly events in his first five years at the helm. In doing so, he continued a globe-trotting playing career that began in the late-80s. Born in Tübingen, Germany, Rapaglia grew up in N.Y., then turned in four excellent years on the hill for Amherst College (Mass.), signing with the Houston Astros as a free agent in 1992 after graduating.
A solid year in the low minors (3.05 ERA in 41.1IP), including a promotion from rookie ball to Low-A, was enough to attract the attention of the Dutch Hoofdklasse’s powerful Neptunus, for whom he turned in a 2.72 ERA the next year. The right-hander then accepted an offer to return to the U.S., pitching with much success for the independent league Albany Diamond Dogs (N.Y.) from 1995–97, for whom he turned in a 2.79 ERA in 135.2 innings. After coaching in the U.S. from 1998–2000, Rapaglia was back across the pond, pitching and managing for the club of his birthplace, the Hawks, after which he joined the GB programme.
‘Stephan was a pro’s pro when it came to managing GB,’ said Josh Chetwynd, who played for Rapaglia at the 2005 European Championships. ‘He was always organized and was an excellent leader on and off the field.’
Ryan Trask |Category: Baseball players
Catcher, centerfielder, third baseman, and pitcher: Bracknell Blazers (2001–11, 2015), Southampton Mustangs (2017–18), Herts Falcons (2019).
Ryan found his way to Bracknell after moving to the UK from South Africa in 1999 and made his senior baseball debut one year later at only 14 years old. His contributions to Bracknell as a young player were significant and he was an invaluable member of the Blazers’ National Championship squad in 2009. Trask ranks in the top eight in six career statistical categories and holds two single-game records. The five-tool player was also a regular for Great Britain, suiting up in a dozen events between 2002–13.
Over 14 recorded seasons between 2000–18, Trask vaulted up multiple domestic career leaderboards. The long-time national league star is fifth all-time in home runs (28) and stolen bases (106), a particularly rare blend of power and speed. Only one other national leaguer, Hall-of-Famer Alan Bloomfield, retired with more than 100 stolen bases and at least five home runs. Trask also ranks No. 3 in hits (296, one behind Bloomfield5), fourth all-time in runs scored (226), No. 6 in doubles (51) and plate appearances (889), and is tied for eighth in RBI (183). He averaged .350 for his career—hitting over .400 on four occasions—with a .450 OBP and.543 slugging.
Trask made an immediate impact upon moving to England. In 2000, PONY invited a European team to its COLT World Series for the first time, and Great Britain was tabbed for the trip to the U.S. Playing against much more experienced competition, GB was shut out in its first two games and the coaching staff, which featured Bracknell’s Paul Vernon, challenged the boys to score at least one run in its final game, a seemingly impossible task. Not only did Britain’s COLT All-Stars tally three runs, but Trask was the first to cross the plate.
Fresh off this experience, Trask entered Bracknell’s starting nine the next season, beginning a decade-long run as a key cog for the Blazers. In his second full campaign (2002), Trask led the NL in AVG (.471) and OBP (.548), despite only turning 16 that year. A year later, he earned the inaugural Fielding Award for Catcher and hit five HR. The backstop topped the league charts with career highs of 7 home runs in 2008 and 28 RBI in 2009.
Trask played a key role in Bracknell’s 2009 Championship, the Blazers’ first. His league-leading RBI total helped power a potent offence, and he added a .348/.489/.623 line with 13 stolen bases. Just as importantly, though, his steadying hand behind the plate helped guide the club through two consecutive win-or-go-home games in the playoffs, setting the Blazers up for a 16-4 romp in the final, in which Trask singled, swiped a bag, and scored twice from the two-hole. The title capped an incredible three-year run, during which he averaged .363/.473/
.670, swiping 24 bags. His 13 four-baggers in that span would alone rank No. 15 all-time.
In 2010, Trask took home his second award for Best Fielding Catcher and tied his brother Michael for the league lead in runs (37). Trask continued to play for Bracknell until the mid-2010s, finishing his career with Southampton and Herts after the Blazers folded, capably transitioning to centrefield and remaining a threat at the plate.
On 20 Aug. 2017, while playing for the Southampton Mustangs in Game One of a doubleheader against the Herts Falcons, Trask converted his four at-bats into three home runs and a double. No national leaguer had left the yard three times in a game in two decades before the outburst, which made the South African one of five to do so all-time. His 14 total bases broke a 36-year-old top-tier game record (of 13), while Trask tied the league mark for round-trippers in a single contest. The Mustangs advanced all the way to the National League Championship Series and Trask scored two runs from the two-hole in a wild 15-14 loss to London Mets in Game 1.
In 2019, Trask’s final season, he had one last taste of Euro play, having made his debut in continental competition in the 2005 CEB European Cup Qualifier for Greater Berkshire 1938. In the second of these appearances, he played centre for Herts Falcons in the European Federations Cup Qualifier in Bulgaria, posting a pair of two-hit games and another two with multiple RBI.
Trask played for GB many times, debuting at the 2002 European Junior Championship Qualifying Pool. He was a late injury replacement for the 2009 Baseball World Cup and 2010 European Championship, starting in European Championship Qualifying Pools in Israel in 2011 and Switzerland in 2013. In the latter, he played RF in all six games, going 6-for-11 in the final four games and hitting .300 overall. After GB went 5-0 in pool play, Trask drove in the winning run in the championship game to qualify the national team for the 2014 Euros.
‘Ryan is unquestionably one of Bracknell’s standout players. Even as a young athlete, he showed his ability and, as his experience grew, he became more and more important to the team,’explainedPaul Vernon, Blazers’ Head Coach for several of Trask’s seasons. ‘He was fun to play with and coach, but his relaxed attitude masked an incredibly hard worker, and he was a leader by example on the field. His contribution to the Blazers team is almost unmatched and his effort over many years was significant to the National Championship victory in 2009.’
1 Confederation of European Baseball, the continental governing body.
2 Adapted from Joe Gray, ‘How Baseball Has Been Brian Holland’s Perfect Game’, 27 Mar. 2008, archived at: web.archive.org/web/20080706115910/http://www.gbbsa.org.uk/articles.html.
3 Hull Baseball Gazette 7.
4 Brit-Ball 28 (Sept. 1995).
5 It is worth noting that Trask’s stats are missing for as many as five seasons.