Baseball has a long history in the United States, dating back to the late 1800s. Ozzie Virgil, the first Dominican player to reach the major leagues, did so in 1956. Here are the top ten Dominican Republic players in MLB history, out of over 400 who have made the big leagues.
Ozzie Virgil - Third baseman/right fielder Virgil played for the New York Yankees and Chicago White Sox in a career that lasted from 1956 to 1967. He is the only Dominican player to have his number retired by an American team (the Yankees).
Eddie Perez - Pitcher Perez played for the California Angels and Boston Red Sox in a career that spanned from 1969 to 1979. He led all Dominican pitchers with 44 wins during his career.
Jose Fernandez - Hall of Fame pitcher Fernandez had a very successful career as a starting pitcher for the Miami Marlins from 2012 to 2016. He pitched for the Tampa Bay Rays before joining the Marlins. During his time with the Marlins, he won the 2015 National League Cy Young Award.
Carlos Delgado - First baseman/left fielder Delgado played first base and left field for the Toronto Blue Jays and Atlanta Braves in a career that lasted from 1986 to 2005. He finished with a.276 batting average and 100 home runs throughout his career.
Here are the top eight Dominican Republic players in MLB history, out of over 400 who have made the big leagues.
Dominican players' talent and success are not news to baseball fans. Aside from the United States, the Dominican Republic has contributed the most MLB players in history. Between 1871 and 2005, there were 234 major league players who were born in the Dominican Republic or lived there for at least part of their childhood - more than any other country. In fact, there have been so many great ballplayers from the Dominican Republic that the sport is sometimes called "Dominican Baseball".
In addition to having more major leaguers than any other country, the Dominican Republic also produces the most successful ones. During their careers, they have won 11 batting titles, 12 home run crowns, and three MVP awards. The current MLB leader in wins is Pedro Martinez of the Boston Red Sox with 207 victories. He was followed by Greg Maddux of the Atlanta Braves with 175 wins. Both men played for the Dominicans.
Other famous Dominicans include Hall of Famers Roberto Clemente (third base) and Vladimir Guerrero (first base); All-Stars Jose Reyes (second base) and Hanley Ramirez (third base); and managers Bobby Cox (Atlanta Braves) and Joe Torre (New York Yankees).
In conclusion, yes, the Dominican Republic does produce a lot of baseball players, but mostly good ones.
Baseball in the Dominican Republic dates back to the mid-nineteenth century, when English colonists in the country's south began playing cricket. Cubans fleeing the island owing to the Ten Years' War (1868–1878) flocked to the country in the 1870s, bringing with them the game of beisbol. The first recorded game of baseball in the country was played on January 1, 1879, between two Cuban teams. The game was played in a horse pasture near San Pedro de Macorís and consisted of five innings. The Cuban team called "Los Caney" beat their opponents by a score of 3-1. That same year, an organization known as la Liga Dominicana de Basebal (Dominican Baseball League) was formed by American entrepreneurs who wanted to import this new sport to the United States.
Baseball became popular among Dominicans and other Latinos in the country after 1890, when a Cuban team toured throughout the country playing against local clubs. This tour is considered the first official visit of a major league club to the country. In 1903, a professional league was founded in the Dominican Republic that would play for several years. In 1914, a strike by players from the Diario de Santo Domingo newspaper caused the demise of that season's league. However, a new league was formed the following year with more experienced players. In 1918, another short-lived league was launched but it too failed to last long. In 1920, a new league was established with better facilities and equipment than its predecessors.
Dominican players currently make among the top 100 in MLB, accounting for 11.6 percent of all power hitters.
The following research is a thorough historical examination of every big league baseball player born in the Dominican Republic. Picking a player's name takes you to his statistics page, and selecting a column title (Birthplace, Debut Year, or Final Year) allows you to re-sort the data.
Here are the results:
➡️ There have been 38 big leaguers born in the Dominican Republic, more than from any other country outside of America.
➡️ The United States has dominated the sport for many years, but now there are more baseball players from the Dominican Republic than from any other country.
➡️ In fact, since the beginning of the MLB draft in 1965, nearly half of all drafted players have been born in the DR.
➡️ The most famous player born in the DR is probably José Altuve, who has played first base for the Houston Astros since 2014. He has won two World Series rings along with several other awards.
➡️ Other notable players include Mark Buehrle, Carlos Delgado, Jose Díaz, Fernando Tatís, Iván Rodríguez, and Vladimir Guerrero.
Dominican Baseball's Top 10 All-Time Players
In 1983, Marichal became the Dominican Republic's first player to be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame. On July 2, 1963, Juan Marichal and Milwaukee Braves Hall of Famer Warren Spahn threw the best game ever thrown in MLB history. In it, they each pitched ten innings, giving up only four hits and one run while striking out sixteen batters. It is known as the "Thousand K Game." In addition to being a great pitcher, Marichal was also an excellent hitter who had two seasons with over 300 batting points.
He began his professional career in 1956 with the Class-B San Antonio Missions of the Texas League. That year, he went 19-4 with a 1.80 ERA and led the league in wins, starts (34), and complete games (21). He was subsequently promoted to the Class A Williamsport Bills of the New York Penn League where he continued to show dominance by going 14-3 with a 1.83 ERA. The California Angels selected him in the first round (sixth overall) of the 1957 amateur draft. Marichal refused to report to their minor league team in Tucson, Arizona and was instead paid $10,000 by the Angels to remain in the United States and not return to play for them. He eventually returned to Cuba and joined the Havana Sugar Kings of the International League where he continued to pitch well, finishing with 26 victories.