Baseball National Team

I originally had what national team? as the answer for McGwire's national team debut. An alert browser wrote to tell me my error:

From: BDYCHK88@aol.com
Date: Sat, 10 Jul 1999 04:33:43 EDT
Subject: Mia vs. Mark
To: evs@salsa.lcs.mit.edu
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X-Mailer: AOL 4.0 for Windows 95 sub 15

Hey, I just read your comparision of Mia Hamm vs. Mark McGwire, but you have 
one fact wrong: Mark McGwire was a member of the US National Team in 1984 
when he was a USC Trojan, that is also the Olympic medal winning team!!

It turns out that there actually is a US baseball national team but they get even less press than the Women's Soccer Team did before WWC '99. The team is limited to amateurs, generally the top college players in the country.

Baseball became an official Olympic sport in 1992 (one Olympiad before women's soccer; men's soccer was the first olympic team sport starting in 1924). It was a demonstration sport as early as 1912. The USA Baseball web page describes the first game:

Baseball was first introduced as part of the 1912 Olympic Games in Stockholm, Sweden. The USA was scheduled to play an amateur baseball club formed in Sweden called the Vesteras. After seeing the Americans warm-up, the Vesteras were convinced they could not compete with the Americans and asked the Americans to loan them a pitcher and catcher, which they did. Even so, the U.S. downed the Vesteras 13-3 and Olympic baseball was born.
Those were the days when the true Olympic spirit lived!

The 1984 team that included Mark McGwire lost in the gold medal game to Japan.

See the USA Baseball history page for more.

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David Evans
evans@cs.virginia.edu