Israel Baseball Surges Up International Rankings

Impressive performances in several tournaments in 2014 has seen Israel move up seven places, to 19th in the world.

Margo Sugarman

Israel baseball has moved up seven places in the most recent IBAF (International Baseball Federation) men's world rankings. Israel is now placed 19th in the world, ahead of countries including Great Britain, Nicaragua and South Africa.

The current IBAF world rankings update takes into consideration the recent results of various 2014 IBAF-sanctioned events. Israel’s impressive performance can be attributed to the country’s baseball’s successes this past year, including winning the European Championship C-Pool tournament in Slovenia in July (which elevated Israel to the B-Pool for 2015); taking second place in the PONY tournament in Prague; winning second and third places in the Tuscany Series baseball tournaments in Italy; and having an Israeli baseballer, Noam Calisar, selected to participate in an MLB camp during the summer.

“Israel baseball has taken major steps over the past year, increasing in size by 25 percent and expanding activities, so that we improve the level of play throughout the leagues,” said Peter Kurz, president of the Israel Association of Baseball. “We continue to work on becoming a stronger presence in the international baseball community, including establishing an MLB-sanctioned Israel Baseball Academy – which will develop our top-level players – and participating in international tournaments.”

The highest ranking countries are, in order, the United States, Japan, Cuba and Chinese Taipei, with their positions unchanged over the past year.