Baseball was introduced to Cuba by the United States in the mid-1860s. It is reported that Cuban refugees escaping their country's ten-year civil war were responsible for spreading the game throughout the Caribbean, including the Dominican Republic. Baseball teams were founded on the island for the first time in 1894 or 1895. In those days, there were no professional baseball players so anyone who could throw a ball and hit it hard was welcome to play.
The first known organized game of baseball was played in Havana, Cuba, on February 8, 1879. The city's newspaper El Cubano Libre published an announcement that a game would be played at "the American School" between the students from Boston and those from New York. According to an article published two weeks later, the New York team had defeated the Boston team by a score of 6-4. That same year, an article in the Philadelphia Inquirer stated that a game had been played in Santiago, Chile, which resulted in a win for the United States over England by a score of 20-0.
In January 1890, a group of businessmen from the Cuban town of Matanzas traveled to Santiago, Chile, where they met with members of the English cricket team on their way back home after playing in Peru. The tourists visited several cities along the way, including Buenos Aires, Argentina, where they played a game against local professionals. This is considered to be the first game of baseball in South America.
Many Cubans fled to the Dominican Republic throughout the conflict, igniting the Dominican people's passion of baseball. The game swiftly grew in popularity, with Dominicans of all classes participating. By 1921, the Caribbean country had four professional baseball teams playing in a league. Further growth came when Cuba joined the league in 1933.
The first official game of baseball was played in Havana, Cuba, on February 13, 1879. The Boston Red Caps defeated the Cuban National Team 8-7 in an exhibition game. Baseball has been popular in Cuba ever since. In fact, it is so popular that most Cubans enjoy their national pastime even though there is only one team - Las Vegas Dodgers. The franchise was founded in 1956 when the original Los Angeles Dodgers left after moving to California. Since then, they have never moved again.
There are several reasons why baseball is so popular in the Caribbean nation. One reason is that the game provides an opportunity for Cubans of all classes to meet and socialize. Another reason is that it is cheap to watch games: a ticket costs less than $1 and a beer sells for just $0.25. Of course, the third reason is because of Domincan nationalism. Before the opening of the season, there is always a battle between the two countries to see which one can win the Caribbean Series championship.
Baseball arrived in Cuba in 1864, when students returned from the United States carrying a bat and ball. In 1878, a baseball league was created there, which eventually grew into the Cuban winter league, which played until Fidel Castro took control in 1959 and banned all professional sports. During this time, many great players came out of Cuba, including Joe DiMaggio, Babe Ruth, and Mickey Mantle.
After the ban, some of the major leagues began signing Cuban players, but most went to Mexico, where they could play during the day without being noticed by the government. This period lasted until 1995, when Clinton signed the Cuban Liberty Act, allowing Americans to visit Cuba without restriction. Since then, many big names have come out of Cuba, such as Jose Abreu, Yasiel Puig, and Vladimir Guerrero.
Cuba has always had a strong connection with baseball. The island's national team has won the World Baseball Classic three times (2009, 2013, 2017). In addition, several major leaguers are Cuban, including Yoenis Cespedes, Felix Hernandez, and Vlad Guerrero. Baseball is so important there that if you win a game people will celebrate for up to six hours, according to one report.
Baseball first arrived in Latin America via Cuba. Soon after, an amateur Cuban league was formed, which gradually evolved into the Cuban winter league, which ran until 1961, when it was banned by Fidel Castro's administration. Baseball was first played by Cubans in the United States. The first professional Latin American league, the Cuban National Series, was founded in 1878. It quickly became a popular sport among Latinos in the United States, and many Cuban players were recruited to play in Mexico and Central America.
After the fall of the Soviet Union, several Russian players came to Mexico to play for the major league teams. Some Mexican players also went to Russia to compete in college games. In 2001, a group of Mexicans headed for Japan to play baseball. Today, Japan is the only country where baseball has become a national pastime.
In Venezuela, baseball began to gain popularity at the end of the 19th century. The first clubs were formed by American immigrants who played under English rules. In 1903, a formal league was organized with eight teams. It lasted for three years before being canceled by President Cárdenas due to concerns over violence at games. In 1913, football (then known as American football) became official again, this time sponsored by the American Football Association. However, baseball continued to grow in popularity so another league was formed two years later. This time, the participants were American citizens who wanted to play under American rules.