February Baseball!

February Baseball!

January 2023

August 21, 1948, in Havana baseball representatives from Cuba, Puerto Rico, Venezuela, and Panama devised an outline for the first Serie del Caribe also known as Caribbean World Series or CWS. The group of representatives would eventually be known as the Confederación de Béisbol Profesional del Caribe. They agreed the event would be held the following February in 1949. The competition would be a round-robin tournament featuring the best winter league teams from each country. The idea can be credited to two Venezuelan businessmen Pablo Morales and Oscar Prieto Ortiz. They based the idea off the defunct baseball tournament the Serie Interamericana.

The first Caribbean World Series took place from February 20th to the 25th. The games were played at Del Cerro Stadium formerly known as Gran Estadio de La Habana and known today as Estadio Latinoamericano in Havana, Cuba. Cuba was represented by the Alacranes del Almendares, Puerto Rico by Indios de Mayagüez, Venezuela by Cervecería Caracas, and Panama by Spur Cola Colonites. Cuba won the inaugural CWS by going 6-0, Venezuela finished second with a 3-3 record, Panama third with a 2-4, and Puerto Rico fourth with a 1-5. Unlike the Olympics or the World Baseball Classic the teams in the CWS aren’t necessarily filled with ballplayers from those countries. The teams are made up of players from all over North America. For example, Negro League legend, former New York Giant, and Baseball Hall of Fame inductee Monte Irvin played for the Alacranes team. Monte hit .389 and had 11 RBIs for the inaugural series.

The CWS ran from 1949 to 1960 but due to the Cuban Revolution the CWS would not be held again until 1970. When the CWS resumed Cuba was replaced with the Dominican Republic. Cuba wouldn’t rejoin the series again until 2014. Starting in 1971 Mexico joined the CWS and began sending a team from the LMP (Liga Mexicana Pacifica). The CWS missed a year in 1981 due to a players’ strike in Venezuela, but the CWS has been played every year since. Mexico won four Caribbean World Series between 1982 and 1989. As the 1990’s began the CWS held back-to-back years in the United States for the first time. Miami was the host city with the games being held at the famed Orange Bowl in 1990 and at the Bobby Maduro Stadium in 1991. After Miami the CWS went back to being hosted between Mexico, Puerto Rico, Venezuela, Panama, and the Dominican Republic. The series will return to Miami in 2024.

The Caribbean World Series is full of passion. The fans dance and play bongos and guiros. The ball players play with panache by adding bat flips and daring plays in almost every inning. The game has a distinct Latin flair. The most recent Series in 2022 took place at Estadio Quisqueya in Santo Domingo. The championship game was held between the baseball powerhouse Gigantes del Cibao of the Dominican Republic and the first-time attendees Caimanes de Barranquilla of Colombia. The Caimanes de Barranquilla won Colombia’s very first Caribbean World Series that year. The CWS is broadcasted in Spanish on ESPN Deportes every year.  The Majors start spring training in March and the MLB season begins in April, so we highly recommend giving February Baseball a chance for a little extra baseball in your life.

Championships won by team: 10 Tigres de Licey (Dom. Rep.), 6 Águilas Cibaeñas (Dom. Rep.), 5 Cangrejeros de Santurce, 5 Criollos de Caguas, 4 Leones de Escogido, eleven teams tied at 2, twelve teams tied at 1.

Championships won by nation: 21 Dominican Republic, 16 Puerto Rico, 9 Mexico, 8 Cuba, 7 Venezuela, 2 Panama, 1 Colombia.

Future Serie del Caribe: 2023 Gran Caracas, Venezuela, 2024 Miami, USA. 2025 Mexicali, Mexico. 2026 San Juan Puerto Rico. 2027 Hermosillo, México.

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