The European Baseball Championship is a biennial tournament between the national teams of Confederation of European Baseball (CEB) members. It was first held in 1954, a year after the founding of the CEB. The competition has been dominated by the Netherlands and Italy which have combined to win 31 of the 33 Championships and placing one-two 19 times.
It has also served as the European qualification tournament for the Olympics since the Games' first tournament in 1984. In that year, Italy earned a spot in the Olympics as the 1983 tournament's winner. The second place team (the Netherlands) advanced to a play-out versus the third place nation at the 1983 Pan American Games. After 1987, the Netherlands received the European slot in the games as the tournament's winner. The second place team (Italy) advanced to a play-out versus the third place nation at the 1987 Pan American Games.
For the 1992 Olympics, with Italy earning a spot in the games as the 1991 tournament's winner. The second place team (the Netherlands) advanced a play-out versus the third place nation at the 1991 Pan American Games. Spain, the third place team, was the Olympic host nation and also played.
For both the 1996 and 2000 Olympics, the top two teams from the previous year's Championships advanced to the Olympics. In both years the Netherlands and Italy finished in first and second place respectively.
The 2003 tournament also served as a pre-qualification tournament for the 2004 Olympics, with the top seven teams earning spots in the European Olympic Qualification Tournament. Greece, which placed second, was exempted due to it have already qualified as the host nation of the Olympics. The event was a qualifier for the 2008 Olympics and will be a pre-qualifier for the 2020 Olympics.
The following countries have never won a Medal but have played in the event (best finish in parantheses): Czech Republic (5th, 2001, 2005, 2012 and 2016), Croatia (8th, 2001 and 2007), Ukraine (9th, 1995), Slovenia (10th, 1995), San Marino (5th, 1971) and Austria (11th, 2007). The Soviet Union's only appearance prior to breakup was 6th in 1991.