The news that Walton-on-Thames Cricket Club (WoTCC) reportedly hosted the world's first recorded game of baseball has sparked a media frenzy in the Surrey town.

On Wednesday morning (June 26), two reports in The Times (UK) and the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) emerged detailing the discovery and publication of the local slice of history.

They followed snowballing media and cultural interest in Walton, and WoTCC in particular, after Joanna Gordon, the Managing Director of Walton on Thames Trading Alliance (WOTTA) learnt the remarkable story of baseball's apparent origins and decided to pass it on.

She has since worked to generate interest in the town on the back of the news, and helped to organise an official Blue Plaque recognition ceremony at WoTCC next month (see below).

Speaking to the Comet, Ms Gordon reflected on the explosion of interest in the story that had occurred, from high-profile US journalists to legion Japanese broadcasters.

"It's been a bit mad, in truth," the WOTTA MD said, describing the attention generated by the long-standing legend being made official history.

"The Japanese and American attention we've had — they're all fascinated to know how much English people know about baseball.

"Major League Baseball (MLB) in the US has its own news network and they announced it as 'Breaking news: Baseball was invented in England!'," she added.

Surrey Comet:

The flurry of attention began soon after Ms Gordon moved to Walton six years ago, eager to meet her new community.

She decided to embrace the town's history and soon uncovered a remarkable slice of it at the Cricket Club:

"After I founded the WOTTA I decided to make a history trail around Walton and while I was doing that I went into the Cricket Club to talk about their history and they said 'did you know baseball was first played in this park...?"

It was around that time that US baseball historian David Block visited the UK and uncovered a newspaper article from the Whitehall Evening Post (September 19, 1749) describing the Prince of Wales playing the game of "Bass Ball" at the club.

"Having an American approve it like that is great for us," Ms Gordon said.

"He's the guy who rang the WSJ and the New York Times who both rang me and were fighting to get their article out the quickest.

"I kept telling everybody and they replied with 'yeah right, Joanna,' but it was true!" she recalled.

"Then Mike Read, an English radio DJ and the chairman of the British Plaque Trust, who is from Walton, contacted the WoTCC who then spoke to Baseball and Softball UK, and we all got together and decided to stage the Blue Plaque Ceremony on July 7 to time it with the big game," Ms Gordon added.

The 'big game' referred to will see the two most-famous baseball teams in the US — the New York Yankees and Boston Red Socks — play each other at the London Stadium (formerly the Olympic Stadium) on June 29 and June 30.

One week after that, WOTTA and WoTCC will host the Blue Plaque ceremony to officially recognise the Cricket Club as hosting the world's earliest recorded game of the sport, under the title 'Baseball's Coming Home'.

"We've shaped a whole day around it — we've got GB Baseball team coming to do a demonstration match, we're hosting all the churches in Walton in a special service, food trucks and batting and pitching cages with a speed gun," Ms Gordon said of the event.

The Walton trade leader added that she hoped to lean on this remarkable slice of transatlantic history to generate further interest and revenue for the Surrey town.

Current plans include the short film WOTTA put together (featured) and fundraising for a statue to mark the site of baseball's official origins.

"We're crowdfunding to build an interactive statue so that tourists can come and visit Walton and have their photos taken there.

"That's my aim as the head of WOTTA — we're trying to get more footfall into the town and save our high streets and hopefully we can make a little pilgrimage to this place," Ms Gordon said.

The Blue Plaque ceremony will take place on Sunday, July 7, at Ashley Park from 10.15am.

To read the WSJ's report on the discovery, go to:

To view the WOTTA's crowdfunding page, go to: