The British Baseball Federation has acted swiftly to fill the gap left this Wednesday by the shock resignation of its long-term skipper Liam Carroll, promoting under 23s head coach Drew Spencer to the top table.
Spencer, whose official title will be Lead Programme and Seniors Manager, takes the post having led the national under 23 team to its best ever European Championship finish in 2019 when their 5th place finish included an historic first ever victory over the Netherlands by any GB squad. He has also led the London Mets to two straight titles in the National Baseball League, the UK’s highest domestic baseball competition. His appointment also makes him (by our reckoning) the UK’s only black national team coach in any prominent team sport across both men’s and women’s disciplines.
A native Californian, Spencer’s baseball talent took him to Dartmouth College of the Ivy League, where he became a multiple time All Star and broke several college hitting records. A two year stint with Orleans of the Cape Cod League, where he played alongside Colorado Rockies legend Todd Helton, was to be the pinnacle of a fine playing career as he twice went undrafted despite his stellar college numbers.
Congrats to Drew Spencer ’97 —@kayperbeats — former #DartBase captain who is still among the top 10 on the Big Green career charts in batting average (.365, 5th), hits (201, 5th), runs (139, 4th), stolen bases (47, 6th) and RBIs (113, 10th)! https://t.co/ds490sClWw
— Dartmouth Baseball (@BigGreenBasebal) September 18, 2020
A marketing professional by day, Spencer’s baseball coaching career began almost by accident. As he told the brilliant British Baseball Podcast, his first taste came after his then partner encouraged him to engage in London youth baseball as a way to settle in following a move from the States, and to spend some quality time together with his son.
From these humble beginnings he faces the task of filling the enormous shoes of his esteemed predecessor, Liam Carroll, the man credited with professionalising the sport’s outlook at national programme level.
There’s a lot to sink his teeth into right away, with the open age European Championships slated for summer 2021 and a likely re-scheduling of GB’s cancelled 2020 World Baseball Classic Qualifier to come in the next 18 months. Spencer inherits a side packed with domestic and international talent, with the possibility of helping GB Baseball to some of its most creditable recent performances well within their grasp.
We’re sure you’ll join us in wishing Drew every success for the road ahead.