Norman Wells

1921 - 2016

A Legend of British Baseball

youngnormAs a young 18 year old, Norman Wells, having served three years in the merchant navy, decided to spend some time at home in 1939. During this time Norman and his pal Bert Maude began supporting the Liverpool professional ice hockey team, which was formed with several imported Canadians. Among them were Jack Richie and Al Hanley, both of whom played for the Great Britain baseball team that won the first ever World Amateur Championship in 1938.

At the close of the ice hockey season Norman found that most of these Canadians played for the Liverpool Giants Baseball team who played in the John Moores Northern Pro-League. So, the two pals decided to take in the baseball game at Church Road, Wavertree, Liverpool. And so started a love of baseball that has existed right up to the present day. During that season Norman also watched the legendary Dixie Dean playing for the Liverpool Caledonians. Norman also took part in organising and playing in 'Sand-Lot' baseball.

However, at the end of the 1939 season a more serious combat started and Norman and his pal Bert joined the Royal Navy until the end of hostilities. He was able to watch a limited number of games, one in Canada with the US service team and even a local league match played at Goodison Park, home of Everton Football Club. On demobilisation, all the local West Derby village lads returned home and the nearby pub The Halton Castle was their adopted meeting place. As fate would have it, this little pub was also the assembling point for several baseball clubs who played their games at Everton F.C. training ground Bellfield. Everton manager at the time was Theo Kelly and was a keen supporter of baseball and even had a team playing in the Liverpool league formed by Everton players. An Everton scout, Mr Pickering, was the liaison officer for baseball and would often frequent the Halton Castle pub. During the course of one evening, after a game, Norman, with a modicum of liquid support, challenged the local team, The Liverpool Robins, to a match. The Robins were the best team on Merseyside, having signed some of the ex-Giants pro team, including Jack Richie and Al Hanley. Their manager, the legendary Alan Robertson, accepted the challenge. The bets were recklessly thrown about, and the game was arranged. Needlessly to say, the pub team were easily outclassed having only Norman and one or two other players who had played the game before. Alan Robertson thought that enough promise had been shown, and suggested that these de-mobees should form a team.

normvet91Norman was then part of the squad who created the Halton Trojans in 1946. The name Trojans was a nickname pinned on these lads by a barmaid who served them their favourite beer..Higson's Trojan. Norman played with the Trojans as a catcher and shortstop until the late 1950's when the team failed to join the 1958 season due to lack of interest.

 

 In 1964 Norman decided to take his son (also Norman), aged 15 to see a game at the English Electric ground. There he was 'besieged' by the members of the Merseyside Executive who persuaded him into re-forming the Trojans. Again, he was re-united with his pal Bert Maude and with several members of the original squad. The Trojans were back, this time as the Liverpool Trojans. Norman took on the responsibility of catcher until his son 'Young Norm', was ready to take over. The Trojans re-entered the Liverpool league in 1965.

 

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Norman has served the Trojans from that day up until now. He is currently Club President and co-ordinator. His career has been as a player, coach and manager and now into his 80's Norman must be the oldest active member of the BBF still involved in the game. Added to his commitment to the Trojans, Norman was secretary of the Merseyside league and the North-West league for 15 consecutive years. For a time, he was one of the BBF executives as a registrar. He also served on the Executive of the Baseball/Softball League.Norman has achieved the status of international scorer and was once the recipient of the National Scorers Award. Another feather in his 'baseball cap' was that he was once elected as Great Britain team manager for an international tournament.

To this day Norman is still working with his team manager, coaches and the young players to ensure that the Trojans have a good future and continue to survive as the oldest team in the UK. If we had more people as committed as Norman Wells, then baseball would be lifted from being a minority pastime to a major national summer sport.

 

 

2012 Club President Norman Wells Carries the Olympic Flame

NornanWells3Norman Wells has been an active baseball player, coach and volunteer since 1946 as a founder member of the Liverpool Trojans and he is still involved as a scorer and avid spectator. His leadership, determination and drive helped re-form the Trojans after the club struggled in the late 1950s.
Norman's vision, and the quality of baseball on Merseyside, led the club to five consecutive national finals and three British championships between 1976 and 1980 and the club continues to compete regularly at national finals.
His enthusiasm and passion for the club sees him still involved as Honorary President and at the age of 91 he scored the opening game of the Trojans' season in 2012.
This year, Norman's efforts have been recognised with Lifetime Achievement Awards presented by Sefton Borough Council in October and at the Merseyside Sporting Champions dinner in Liverpool on November 4.
His service to baseball has also been recognised by his peers through the highest accolade in his sport when he was inducted into the inaugural class of the British Baseball Hall of Fame  in 2009.

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