Header image  
tips for experiencing the life and culture of this unique island nation  


Baseball in the Dominican Republic

introduction *  when to go * things to do * events * getting there * getting around * food * history * attractions * music * cities * hotels

Baseball is undoubtedly the sport for which Dominican’s are best known outside the country. It remains the most popular sport throughout the country, competing for popularity with volleyball and basketball. Visitors to the country are almost guaranteed to see some kids playing with whatever is on hand. If you visit in the winter months (October to January), a trip to one of the six professional teams is highly recommended. American baseball fans used to sleepy staid affairs will be astounded by the party atmosphere and impressed by the high level of play, perhaps AA level or above.

Professional baseball has been played in the DR since 1891. Licey, a team still based in Santo Domingo, was founded in 1907 and dominated the professional leagues until to foundation of its city rival, Escogido, in 1921. Games between these two teams are still fiercely contested.

Rafael Trujillo, dictator of the Dominican Republic from 1930 to 1961, was a fan of the sport and bought the best players from Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, and the United States. The Dominican Baseball League was founded in 1955, holding its first tournament between October of that year and January of 1956. There are currently 6 teams in the country&rsquo:s professional league: Santo Domingo has two teams (the Tigres del Licey and the Lions of Escogido); Las Estrellas Orientales is based in San Pedro de Macoris; Aguilas Cibaenas in Santiago; Azucareros del Este in La Romana; and los Gigantes (the Giants) in San Francisco de Macoris. Each team plays a season of fifty games each winter, with the best teams progressing to the playoffs and the winner going on to face the best teams from across the Caribbean.

Notable Players

Osvaldo Virgil was the first Dominican baseball player in the Major Leagues of the United States. He began playing in 1958 and shortly after was followed by Felipe Alou and his brother Matty Alou. Matty won the batting title in 1966. Other notable players of the past were the pitchers Juan Marichal, Tony Pena and George Bell. Pedro Martinez won the Cy Young Award in 1997 and is now in the Hall of Fame; Sammy Sosa reached the record for most homers in a season by a Latino player in 1998, and was named Most Valuable Player. Other notable baseball players born in the Dominican Republic include: Juan Marichal, Robinson Cano, Manny Ramirez, Rico Carty, Vladimir Guerrero, George Bell, Julian Javier, Francisco Liriano, Jose Bautista, Hanley Ramírez, David Ortiz, Albert Pujols, Ubaldo Jiménez, José Reyes, and Plácido Polanco.

Many Dominican-born players continue to ply their trade in the major leagues. Up and comers return to the island for the Winter Series. Maybe you can catch the next star.

OVERVIEW for your visit to the Dominican Republic:

introduction *  when to go * things to do * events * getting there * getting around * food * history * attractions * music * cities * hotels