The idea to organize the Prague Baseball Week (PBW) came up straight after the first trip of the “unofficial” Czechoslovak national team to Holland in 1979. The first tournament was set up in 1980 by the baseball players of BH Kovo Praha Club under the leadership of the main organizer and coach, Mirek Vojtisek. Originally, the tournament was to be held once every two years but that soon changed and the PBW found its place in the yearly schedule list of home and foreign teams. Not only has the interval of the PBW changed but also the system of playing was gradually altered. In the beginning, the point of the tournament was not the final. It was organized as a series of exhibition games supporting baseball and primarily its promotion. However, this idea didn’t last long. The teams wanted to compete to find out which was best, and what it takes to get among the top European baseball teams. From then on, the tournament winners were recorded.
Prague was always an attractive tourist destination and despite troubles with receiving visas, foreign teams participated in the tournament right from the start. In the beginning there were mainly Dutch teams dominating the tournament until 1990s. In the first six years of playing for position (since 1984), the Dutch won the tournament five times. Their teams played under different names as they consisted of select players from various Dutch teams. The first team to win was the All Stars followed by the Trail Blazers. Later on regular Dutch teams – Mr. Cocker HCAW and the Haag Storks – were among the winners. This is as much information as we can provide at the moment about the early years of the Prague Baseball Week followed by more detailed information from 1988.
In 2021, the organization of the tournament under the Czech Baseball Association continued, and after the previous year, which was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic to the end of September, the tournament returned to the June. A total of 7 teams took part in the 40th anniversary of the Prague baseball week, and due to restrictions and non-permission to visit at the last minute, the Russian national team has canceled the participation, which did not have the opportunity to defend its championship from last year. The tournament was a preparatory event for the national teams before the peak of the season, which was the European Championship 2021 in Italy.
For the first time in the history of Prague Baseball Week, Spain won the tournament after the final match with the national team of the Czech Republic, which did not end the waiting for the gold medal even after six years. The big surprise of the whole tournament was the third place for Czech Republic U18, which fought its way to the medal fights from the first place in group B, where they won over the national teams of Slovakia and Sweden. In addition to first place in the tournament, Spain could also rejoice in the victory in the Homerun Derby, in which their representative Roibert Decena defeated last year's winner Ryan Johnson from International Stars in the final shootout.
As part of the celebrations of the 40 years of Prague Baseball Week, Mrs. Leah Peace, Chargé d’affaire of the US Embassy in Prague, honored us with her visit and opening pitch of the tournament. Many accompanying activities took place during the tournament, worth mentioning, for example, the tournament of the youngest baseball hopes in the U8 category, or the exhibition match "1996 reunion", which was the game between players of the Czech national team from 1996 when they won a participation in the "A" group of the European Championship and 1st place on the Prague Baseball Week. Prague Baseball Week thus entered the next decade with dignity.
The year 2020 was taken over the organization of Czech Baseball Association with a view to the 40th anniversary in 2021. The situation of sport in that year was not good and like many other events, the tournament was influenced by the worldwide pandemic COVID-19. It was not possible to hold the tournament in June, and it was therefore necessary to postpone it to the end of September, when 5 teams out of the original 15 participants took part under the influence of restrictions. The tournament was a positive example of the value of organizing similar events, playing sports and working at this time, and PBW was one of the last sporting events in which spectators could be present, subject to hygienic conditions.
Tournament champion became for the first time in history team Russia after a dramatic final game. With their eagerness at bat they turned the game with Czech national team and despite having lost in the first round with the Czech Republic, they won the final 9:5. Czech Republic ended up again in second place, they won the tournament in 2015 for the last time. This year´s team consisted of permanent senior national players and also young players - European champions U23. Talented young players got a chance to show a good performance and readiness for a fight about their spot in a line up. National team lost just the final game.
Third place was taken by Czech national U18 team. Team entered the tourament at the end and showed its eagerness for win. They defeated International Stars and Prague Selection so they had two wins in one day and performed a lot of talented pitchers. Winners of the last four years of Prague Baseball Week - International Stars - did not manage to keep up with the bests. Their roster also had to be changed at the very last time and also during the tournament itself, they had less foreign players than usual. We should mention their game against Russia and Czech Republic and not forget about Ryan Johnson´s homerun derby win.
For the second year in a row, 8 teams presented themselves in Prague. And the winners of the last three years, International Stars have arrived with the aim of winning their fourth victory in a row, which no team in the history of the tournament has yet achieved.
Also interesting was the return of the Blue Jays from Johns Hopkins University in the USA. It was a return after 24 years. And in the large group of fans who arrived with the team, there were also players who played in Prague in 1995. The Czech Republic was represented by the Czech U23 team, which was preparing for the European Championships; the championship was scheduled in August and also in Prague. Other national teams were Russia, Poland and Belarus. The group of eight teams was completed by Future Stars and Stuttgart Reds, a league team from Germany.
From the start of the tournament, the International Stars went for a record fourth victory in a row. In the semifinals, they beat Russia and waited for their final´s opponent. He came from the pair of the Czech Republic U23 and Future Stars, when the Stars were better in the semifinals.
And in the finals of the 38th year, there was a big surprise when the youngsters from Future Stars deservedly won over their older and more experienced opponent. And so the International Stars did not break the PBT record and did not claim the coveted fourth victory in a row. The Czech national team of the Czech Republic U23 finally won third place. But after several weeks, Czech National team won gold medal at the U23 European Championship..
Total 8 teams participated in 37th annual PBW. Five national teams from Europe and three selected teams represented high quality baseball. The teams with the highest ambitions were 3n2 International Stars and Czech Republic national team. Italian national team U18 and International Future Stars where among top teams of the tournament. In their first game NSW Blue Sox from Australia beat 3n2 Stars and proved also their quality. After all exciting round robin games teams finished as follows – Czech Republic, Italy, 3n2 Stars, NSW Blue Sox, in group B International Future Stars, Russia, Belorus, Poland. Games between the groups sent to semifinals CR and Future Stars, second semifinals played 3n2 Stars against Italy. Top teams proved expectations and 3n2 International Stars and Czech Republic qualified to championship game. In the finals Czech team did not succeed, lost 10 : 1 and Stars won their third title in row, tied record of PBW for consecutive wins in the tournament. International Future Stars beat Italy 7 : 5 in third place game.
3nd International Stars, selection of international players from all around Europe, arrived to Prague with aim to reach top of the event again. But also Czech National team wanted to show all the best to their fans. And other teams proved that they can play exciting games with all opponents. Not even one team went throughout the round robin without a lost. 2n2 International Stars lost with Russia, but won with Czech Republic, Germany beat Russia, International Future Stars beat Germany. Round robin group included a lot of interesting games. Over all, two main candidates for top position reached finals – 3n2 International Stars and Czech Republic. Stars proved their quality and won championship game against home team 4 – 0.
The tournament was more or less competition CR – USA. Two Czech National teams were present against two selections of mostly USA players – International Stars and newcomers Drop Bears. Teams played twice each other in round robin and after that two top teams met in finals. Surprisingly International Stars lost one game in round robin to CR U23 4 : 6. Because Czech National seniors team lost only once in round robin, the finale game was same as in last three years – CR against International Stars. Czech team lost the game 5 : 0 and International Stars celebrated third victory in last four years of PBW.
Total six teams arrived to Prague, including defending champion of last two years – International Stars. And together with Czech National team they belonged to top candidates for win of the tournament. Great Britain and Czech U18 and German U18 were not expected to be on top standings. Planet Baseball team from USA could be potential surprise of PBW. The first day the most interesting contest was between CR U18 and Germany U18. German team won and then continued with good performance till the end of the whole event. Friday, just before finals, which was scheduled on Saturday, Czechs won 3 : 1 against Stars. And Saturday finals was same success for Czech National team, when they clinched victory 6 : 4 over Internationals and stopped their two years in row winning of Prague Baseball Week.
Prague Baseball Week defending champions showed up again, but they short name of the team to only International Stars. But concept of selection of best international players from all around Europe remains same. And the team proves players top baseball skills. Even they lost the first game in round robin group to Czech Republic 11 : 4. But overall International Stars reached championship game again and continued their successful Prague Baseball Week story beating Czech Republic 6 : 3.
Since first year of PBW in 1980, the unofficial nationality winning rating is leading by Americans, winning 12 championship games, followed by the Dutch with 7 triumphs, and the local national team winning four times. Australia, Italy and Russia have had one victory each. In the outstanding years, mixed teams won, or there were no recorded winners due to the different organizational system of the event – exhibitions games only.
This year edition of PBW was badly damaged by weather. Organizers had to cancel all games of one day and change tournament format. And such change is not easy with total 12 teams participating. After several years Germany arrived to Prague and also for first time ever team EU International Stars. The team was selection of top international players from all around the Europe. And this team did very well, when they reached finals and beat Czech National team 5 : 3. It looks like home team – Czech National team always gets to finals, but does not succeed in championship game. Their last win is dated back in 2008.
Prague Baseball Weeks teams where divided in three groups, A1, A2 and B. Groups A1 and A2 were reserved for teams with international experience and top level of baseball skills. Group B was established for teams with less international experience. Belgium, Sweden, Czech Republic and three USA teams were seeded to A groups, Poland, Belarus, Lithuania and Slovakia were scheduled in group B.
Defending champions AIST and Czech Republic did excellent in round robin groups, as well as in semifinals. Championship game was surprisingly easy for AIST, when they beat Czech Republic badly 12 : 6.
AIST team won Prague Baseball Week third year in row and this happened for the first time in history of PBW….
The beginning of the tournament did not show, that AIST team preforms like defending champions. They won only two of four games in round robin group. Vice versa, Czech National team performed very well at the beginning of the tournament. Also France and USSSA did well. Czech Republic won semifinals beating France and same did AIST team against USSSA. Championship game was very exciting, Czechs did well and AIST was behind. But at the end AIST team tied the game and then even beat Czech Republic 6 : 5. And AIST players enjoyed winning of second straight championship game in row.
Since 2004 the American AIST had participated in the Prague Baseball week regularly, but never quite won gold. Until this year, the PBW was held in July unlike in other years, so that the European national teams could use this tournament as a preparation for the up coming European Championship. Teams of the Czech Republic, Croatia and Russia used this opportunity. Also Israel participated in the PBW for the first time, but they, as well as the Austrian team and CR under 18’s, were here to mainly gain experience rather than win.
The Russian national team qualified for the final against AIST. From the very start, AIST dominated the game and they recorded their first victory in the PBW. US baseball players playing in Europe assured their victory.
This year the Prague Baseball Week was just foreplay of more important event which was to be held in Prague. The Czech Republic hosted one of the groups of the World Championship in 2009 and in our group were teams of Australia, Taiwan, Mexico and CR.
The PBW was a good opportunity for organizational and technical check ups before the up coming World Championship. The exciting final of the tournament was rather unexpected. Moscow won for the first time in the Prague Baseball Week. The Czech national team kept high hopes for the historically third triumph throughout the game. The tight score of 2 : 1 before the last inning was promising. But in the ninth inning the Russians scored and the score was even. In the first extra inning Moscow managed to squeeze in a point. The Czechs did not respond and the cup travelled to Moscow.
It must be mentioned that the Russian success was boosted by quality foreign players very well known to our team. Moscow invited Australian players from the Czech Extra League who used their quality skills. They greatly contributed to the final game and helped the Moscow players in the victory.
The success in the previous year meant that the Czech national team had the difficult task of defending their victory. Croatia came to Prague for the first time, and traditionally Sweden and France appeared on the list. Among other teams participating regularly were American university teams of select players – the USA Athletes and AIST. The total of eight teams completed Slovakia and Czech under 21’s. All the teams were in pursuit of very high goals.
The Croatians beat France in the very beginning, the Czech national team crushed the Swedes, and the CR under 21’s defeated surprisingly the American AIST. All games were very exciting. The Czech national team won against the AIST quite closely 2 : 0, followed by a defeat by CR under 21’s unexpectedly. And so the Czech national team got to the semifinal with the excellent Croatian team. But the Czechs won at the right time and moved on once again to the final game against France. The score in the final was not high; the pitchers in both teams dominated the game, so defense had to show their skills. No mistakes in the defense of the Czech national team resulted in their victory 3 : 0. They managed to defend it and got the gold. The fans could also be pleased by the fourth place of the CR under 21’s behind the great Croatian team.
Having lost in the tournament, the Czech national team had to do their best. There were no easy opponents. Select players from Australia came to Prague, and so did the perfectly organized and disciplined American team of Flying Dutchmen from the Hope College. There were also the Swedes, the Czechs under 19’s and a very strong team of select players from Prague supported by foreign players from the Baseball Extra League.
Flying Dutchmen scared our national team in the game within their group by a very easy victory. But the defeat came early enough. In fact it was the last and only one in this tournament. They won it for the second time in the history of the PBW after long twelve years. The Czechs dealt well with the Australians who had won in the semifinal with Hope College.
The European Championship in Prague that continued straight after the PBW in 2005 was not as successful for our national team as we would have wished to be. We managed to finish fifth, but our hopes were one step higher. Thus the PBW of 2006 was here to look for new talents in order to build a national team for the next European Championship in 2007. Quality teams took part; besides others New England Stars from the US came for the first time as well as national teams from France, Sweden and Germany participated again.
Our national team gave unbalanced performances within their group and managed to win only one game against Slovakia, which was expected. After the games within groups rain began to interfere with the schedule same as last year. Some games within the groups had to be cancelled in order to finish the tournament. Therefore, we ended up seventh. France got to the final for the second time in the history of PBW, but did not win the gold and the excellent team of New England Stars took it to the US.
It was historically a rather important year for Czech baseball. Baseball players from the whole continent were to come to the Czech Republic for the European Championship. The PBW had to adapt to these circumstances. Its dates moved to July and the fields in Krc offered optimal training grounds to the European national teams before the actual Championship. The teams happily took this offer and therefore this particular PBW belonged to one of the best tournaments considering the teams’ qualities.
National teams of the Czech Republic, Sweden, Great Britain, France, Russia and Slovakia were added to by three US teams – AIA, USA Athletes and AIST and by the traditional mixed team of Uniforms Express. The teams enjoyed the tournament from the very start, the battles were exciting. But things went wrong due to the weather. Clouds covered the sky above Krc and continuous rain through day and night entirely flooded the fields and the hopes of the organizers to witness quality final games have gone. Cups were distributed to the teams according to the statistics from previous games. Therefore, this year’s PBT was quite disastrous.
The Uniforms Express came to defend their last year’s victory. Up till now, only the NAIA in 2000 and 2001 and the Dutch Trail Blazers in 1985 and 1987 with one year gap were successful in such defend. (In 1986 the tournament had different organization rules and no final winner was recognized) After many years, Italy sent their national team for under 19’s. The Czechs had the same team category (19) as the Italians, besides their senior national team. Two traditional teams from the US – USA Athletes and AIST knew very well what to expect at Krc which put together one more team, Krc Altron, to get the total of seven participating teams.
Krc Altron was very well prepared and managed to beat the Czech national team 9 : 1 and foiled their further involvement. Uniforms Express made it to the final for the third time against the AIST who was there for the first time. It was an interesting game, but Uniforms Express won easily 8 : 2. The third place went to the Czech national team after a somewhat hesitant start.
The main goal of the Czech national team this year was to totally prepare all the players for forthcoming European Championship in the Netherlands. The opponents to check their skills came from the USA, Australia, Slovakia and Russia. Uniforms Express were the favorites as they wanted to make up for their last year’s loss in the final. But there were also the USA Athletes and Australia Provincial to count on in the finals. There was another US team, AIST, consisting of select university players new to the tournament. Slovakia, CR under 18’s and Moskvich could also be difficult opponents for any of the favorites. The Czech national team played extremely well and beat Australia 11 : 4 in the semifinals. After eight years they finally made it again into the final of the PBW. Unfortunately, the game was pitiful for the Czech fans to watch and the Czechs lost 10 : 0 to the Uniforms Express already in the seventh inning. The team was in pieces and looked resigned.
Nine teams participated in the PBW this year and it was very difficult to predict the results due to the wide range of players and their skills. The best Czech baseball players were divided into two teams. One of them was an incomplete senior national team because some players were moved to the select university team of the CR. This team was soon to leave after the PBW for the University World Championship. Germany came to Prague with two teams as well, a senior team and an under 23 team. AIA and USA Athletes were among the favorites knowing the tournament perfectly well. Uniforms Express, consisting of foreign players playing in European clubs, including Czechs and Germans, was introduced in the PBW for the first time. There was no doubt about the quality of this team. Other participating teams were from Slovakia and Russia with their team Moskvich consisting of select players from Moscow.
The games were opened by Petr Bříza, the goal keeper of Prague hockey team Sparta, and then fierce battles could begin. Moskvich surprised right in the start by beating Uniforms Express, but after that there were no more surprises. Our national team did not do well at all and after a series of battles for second, third and fourth places, we ended up seventh, which was disappointing. Uniforms Express and AIA confirmed the expectation and got to the final. It was a beautiful example of top baseball with the minimum score of 1 : 0, first time in the history of PBW. AIA used well a weaker moment in the opponent’s defense. After the only point, it was a battle of pitchers who entirely controlled the game. Athletes in Action could then celebrate their victory. Even though AIA would come to the PBW regularly with high quality players, this was their first overall victory.
NAIA came to Prague to defend their victory from last year. The greatest opponents were their fellow Americans the USA Athletes and also the Czech national team. Slovakia, Germany, CR under 18’s and the club organizers Krc Altron certainly did not believe in getting any medals. The tournament was opened by Jan Kasl, the Mayor of Prague, and his pitch was followed by a series of games within the groups. After a few surprising results, the Czechs, Germans and both overseas teams got to the semifinals. Nevertheless, battle for bronze was once again between European teams where the Czech team won 14 : 2. The NAIA team confirmed their victory by the final score of 9 : 6.
It must be mentioned that artificial night lighting system was used this year in the PBW at the Krc grounds for the first time.
Ten teams participated in the PBW again, some of them played here for the first time. NAIA, the second biggest American sport organization, sent their select players, the USA Athletes and US Stars also made it here. Europe was represented for the first time by a Belgian team, traditionally by Germany, Slovakia, Ukraine, and our national team and CR under 23. The British and Americans played together in Menwith Hill Patriots of Great Britain.
Our men did not manage to defeat the team of NAIA, which was one of the strongest teams ever in the history of the tournament. The US Stars won the second semifinals. Our national team played for bronze again. This time we repaid their victory from the group and finished third. The final was then easy for NAIA who won happily 15 : 6.
The number of participating teams in the PBW this year increased to ten. The Australians traveled to Prague once again in pursuit of better placing in the tournament. They had a reason for their confidence. The select players of Australia Provincial were one level up from two years ago. The USA Athletes were the only American team this year. The Czech Republic was represented by men’s team CR and CR under 23’s, the juniors. Other teams were from France, Germany, Ukraine and Slovakia. Two teams from the land of tulips participated this year, HCAW and Robur 58 of Apeldoorn for the first time.
After dramatic games within the groups, the final was played straight away. Therefore, every defeat within the group led to playing for a lower position in the final order. The Czech men and the French were in the second place within their groups. Therefore, the same battle for third place as in 1997 was repeated, but the Czechs did not manage the French superiority and were defeated 1 : 4. The Australians and Americans were first within their groups and played in the final. The men in yellow and green were well prepared and won easily 11 : 3. The cup travelled all the way to the antipodes.
Team America arrived in Prague for the third time together with the splendid Jersey City Colonels who were new to the tournament. The Czech national team, CR under 23’s, Slovakia, Germany and Ukraine also participated in the tournament for the first time. Both our teams were in the semifinals but neither of them was successful. The final was between the two American teams and Jersey Colonels finally defeated their fellow Americans 13 : 8. In the Czech battle for third place the men defeated our younger national team 18 : 4.
Eight teams took part in the Prague Baseball Week for the first time. One of them came from far away. The Australia Provincial baseball team consisting of select players from several Australian provinces gained their first experience with European baseball. Team America wanted to defend their victory from last year, and the French and German teams believed they could come in higher positions. The strongest baseball country was represented by the Dutch Mr. Cocker HCAW team. The Slovakian team came mainly to gain experience, and so did the Juniors CR. The Czech national team also wished to get better and thus prepare themselves for the A group European Championship. The Australians were surprised by the quality of the tournament and were defeated. The Czech national team got to the semifinals as expected but Team America was far better. The excellent Dutch team won the second semifinal and the defeated French played with the Czechs for bronze. The Czech national team did not know how to deal with the Gaelic rooster and ended up fourth. The final was opened by the pitch of Janek Ledecky and the battle began. The Americans soon ran out of steam and lost 3 : 11 to Mr. Cocker HCAW who once again won in Prague after an eight year gap.
The competition in this tournament grew once again with teams from France, Germany and the USA – the excellent AIA and select players from the Collegiate Baseball Classic tournament played here for the first time under the name of Team America. Both the overseas teams were supposed to be the main competitors for the Czech national team before leaving for the B team European Championship in Great Britain.
Jan Zelezny, the javelin thrower, came to Krc to have a little break from practicing for the Atlanta Olympic Games, and pitched to open the final. The tournament had a rather dramatic final. It was a hard baseball battle between the French team winning 6 : 0. But Team America never gave up and the players managed to pull themselves together and win 7 : 6 at the end. Our Czech national team lost to AIA in pursue of third place 10 : 1.
The tournament moved to the Krc valley. The newly built field, base for the later baseball and softball complex, witnessed historically first and only PBW tournament victory of the Czech national team for many upcoming years. Led by another American coach, Stan Luketich, the Czech baseball players defeated Schenectady Blue Jays 7 : 5. Johns Hopkins University team was third having beaten the All Stars of the Czech League. The Rotterdam Orioles from Holland ended up fifth.
Not all the years were easy for the PBW and this was one of them. Due to a very weak competition, the Czech national team as well as All Stars CR appeared on the team list. All Stars CR were selected and coached by Jim Jones who had been working here for years. Knowing extremely well all the players and coaching excellently, he was able to bring the team to final success.
After a few years of absence, the Dutch bring their Trail Blazers again and get the gold. This is historically the first time when the Czech national team plays at the Prague Baseball Week after the separation of CSFR and wins bronze.
The eleventh year in the tournament history brings further changes. The organizer this year is Sokol Krc and the tournament is moved from Nebusice to a rented field of TJ Tempo Praha. The American Envoy Team, one of the strongest teams ever in the tournament history, comes to Prague. Major League Baseball is sent to the Czech Republic and Slovakia and the team members, American university students, stay on after the tournament finishes. During those few weeks they train and coach our players of all ages and levels. Due to the strong competition our national team coached by Jim Jones finishes fifth.
In 1991 Prague did not attract such strong teams as in the previous year; however, a select team from Germany and two teams from the Netherlands participated (Mr. Cocker HCAW and the BC Haag Storks for the first time). The national team of CSFR was also present. The surprise winners were the Storks, even though the other Dutch team was thought to have better chances in the start. Our team finished third. The highlight of the tournament was a pitch by Mr. Koran, the Mayor of Prague. Like in other countries, where most important tournaments are opened in this manner, a tradition was set at our PBW. This year was organized by the Czech Softball and Baseball federation instead of Kovo Praha.
A year later the Prague Baseball Week was influenced by the democratic changes at the end of 1989 and many strong teams from the USA and Germany took part. Four teams came from the cradle of baseball - Haverford College, Williams College and University of Maryland besides the “old” AIA, and Mannheim Amigos from Germany. It was a great opportunity for our team. The number of American teams was outstanding and the results were obvious. Williams College won, the Czechs were sixth.
In 1989 Mr. Cocker HCAW, the already mentioned Dutch team, won the cup. They played against two American teams of select players, the now traditional AIA (Athletes in Action) and Commercial Aviation. Other participants were the Italian FOIT CUS Torino, selected players from Leningrad, Russia, and also select players from the CSSR. The competition was great and we ended up fourth.
The winners of this tournament were the Italians due to the excellent performance of their team the Fortitude Bologna. This was also the year when the official Czechoslovak baseball national team was introduced. Until then only Czech and Moravian club teams would participate in the Prague Baseball Week tournament. Our national team gave us a very pleasant surprise by coming second in their premier performance. This year is also remembered for other baseball milestones. The national team of the RSFSR (the Russian Socialist Federated Soviet Republic) played here for the fist time, and together with the select players of American university teams AIA, which took part in the PBW, we witnessed the first game between Russia – USA.