The Dominican Republic's sunny and warm year-round climate creates the perfect environment for sports. Whether your game is golf, diving, windsurfing, fishing or sailing on the high seas, sports are an exciting way to experience this country's natural beauty, beaches, mountains, waterfalls and amazing countryside.
The Dominican Republic is the perfect location for all kinds of sporting events. It hosts leading international tournaments such windsurf and kiteboarding in Cabarete, fishing tournaments at Cabeza de Toro and golf courses around Punta Cana.
However, it is impossible to talk about this country without mentioning Dominicans' greatest passion: baseball. Without a doubt, its league is the best after the United States' Major League Baseball. More than five hundred of our ballplayers have been key members of many major U.S. teams. If you are visiting between October and Jaunary, be sure to catch a baseball game during the annual Dominican Winter League Baseball season. Both the Dominican fans and the passion that drives them will be impossible to miss.
It's also worth noting that Dominicans have been working very hard at volleyball. The women's team has won several international championships, making their team one of the best in the world.
In the Dominican Republic, we simply call baseball "ball" and it is the sport that generates all kinds of passions, regardless of a fan's social status, sex or age.
Opinions differ on the date baseball began in the Dominican Republic. There are versions that say it was introduced into the country by the Cuban brothers Ignacio and Ubaldo Alomá in September 1886, at San Pedro de Macorís. Others say that it began between the years 1894 and 1896, through Cuban citizens living in the country and that the first teams were Ozama and Cauto. There is yet another version which indicates the date as September 25, 1886 when some Cuban sailors gave a demonstration of the game on a plot of land near the port in the city of San Pedro de Macorís and then left behind the bats and balls used when they departed.
There is an opinion that differs from the all of these theories: that baseball was introduced by Americans when they installed the first beer factory in Santo Domingo.
Regardless of which version is true, what is clear is that the sport took off in 1916, during to the first American intervention in the country. After several games played between Dominicans and the American Marines, Dominican pride swelled in being great players of the game.
Amateur baseball began to develop during the decade of the 1940s, when tournaments were being held in honor of dictator Rafael L. Trujillo. Also important to Dominican baseball's development was the construction of the first baseball stadium in 1946 next to the Escuela Normal [Normal School] of Santo Domingo with a capacity of 4,000 fans.
Organized and professional Dominican baseball started in 1955 with the creation of the Professional Baseball League of the Dominican Republic (LIDOM) and its incorporation with U.S. Major League Baseball (MLB). The Dominican league's first president was Dr. Hipólito Herrera Billini. The following year, baseball was first played at night in the new Quisqueya Stadium, which is now named after Juan Marichal.
If at any time during your stay you would like to attend a baseball game, visit the Dominican Baseball League Internet site: www.lidom.com. You can also visit any Dominican team's own website for information such as game schedules, stadiums, ticket prices, etc.
Some information on baseball in the Dominican Republic:
1. The professional teams that currently participate in the winter tournaments are:
- Tigres del Licey [Licey Tigers] (founded in 1907) www.licey.com
- Estrellas Orientales [Eastern Stars] (founded in 1910) www.estrellasorientales.com.do
- Leones del Escogido [Escogido Lions] (founded in 1921) www.escogido.com
- Águilas Cibaeñas [Cibao Eagles] (founded in 1936) www.aguilas.com.do- Azucareros del Este [Eastern Sugarworkers] (founded in 1983) www.lostorosdeleste.com
- Gigantes del Cibao [Cibao Giants] (founded 1996) www.gigantesdelcibao.com
2. The first broadcast of a Dominican baseball game took place on October 21, 1917, in La Vega, and it was carried out by telephone.
3. In 1928, the first baseball game between Licey and Escogido was broadcast by radio station HIJK.
4. In 1936, the Cincinnati Reds were the first MLB team to visit the Dominican Republic, as part of its tour through the region.
5. The first national baseball tournament was organized that same year with the Licey, Escogido, Estrellas Orientales and Sandino teams. The Sandino team subsequently changed its name to Águilas Cibaeñas.
6. The Dominican Republic made its debut in an amateur world series in 1941.
In the Dominican Republic, we live and breathe baseball
There is no sport that is more popular than baseball in the country; it becomes part of our culture from the time we are children. This sport is practiced in the most professional to the most rudimentary way, regardless of whether there is a stadium or a field. Dominicans will even play in the streets or on uncultivated land.
A little over 50 years after the first Dominican player made it into U.S. MLB, the Dominican Republic had produced more than 500 professional players, making the country the biggest producer of MLB players outside the United States.
Among all Latin American countries, Dominican players stand out the most. Names such as Juan Marichal, Felipe Rojas Alou, Sammy Sosa, Pedro Martínez, Albert Pujols, Alex Rodríguez, David Ortiz, Manny Ramírez, Vladimir Guerrero, Aramis Ramírez, Hanley Ramírez and many others have raised the Dominican flag high.
The Dominican Republic's professional winter baseball tournament is held between the months of October and January. The regular season ends at the end of the month of December and then there is an elimination or round-robin series for the entire month of January. The season concludes in the Final Series which designates the championship team that will represent our country in the annual Caribbean Series.
The Caribbean Series is a competitive event between Puerto Rico, Mexico, Venezuela and the Dominican Republic, which has won it 18 times. In the Caribbean championships the Tigres de Licey team has won ten times, the Águilas Cibaeñas team has won it five times and the Leones del Escogido team has won it three times.
Names of the teams in the Dominican Baseball League, their home cities and stadium names:
Name | City | Stadium
Tigres del Licey | Santo Domingo | Juan Marichal
Leones del Escogido | Santo Domingo | Juan Marichal
Águilas Cibaeñas | Santiago | Cibao
Estrellas Orientales | San Pedro de Macorís | Tetelo Vargas
Toros del Este | La Romana | Francisco Micheli
Gigantes del Cibao | San Francisco de Macorís | Julián Javier
Annual Tournament / Championship Team
1922 Leones del Escogido
1924 Tigres del Licey
1929 Tigres del Licey
1936 Estrellas Orientales
1937 Dragones Ciudad Trujillo
1951 Tigres del Licey
1952 Águilas Cibaeñas
1953 Tigres del Licey
1954 Estrellas Orientales
1955-56 Leones del Escogido
1956-57 Leones del Escogido
1957-58 Leones del Escogido
1958-59 Tigres del Licey
1959-60 Leones del Escogido
1960-61 Leones del Escogido
1961-62 Campeonato inconcluso
1962-63 No hubo campeonato
1963-64 Tigres del Licey
1964-65 Águilas Cibaeñas
1965-66 No hubo campeonato
1966-67 Águilas Cibaeñas
1967-68 Estrellas Orientales
1968-69 Leones del Escogido
1969-70 Tigres del Licey
1970-71 Tigres del Licey
1971-72 Águilas Cibaeñas
1972-73 Tigres del Licey
1973-74 Tigres del Licey
1974-75 Águilas Cibaeñas
1975-76 Águilas Cibaeñas
1976-77 Tigres del Licey
1977-78 Águilas Cibaeñas
1978-79 Águilas Cibaeñas
1979-80 Tigres del Licey
1980-81 Leones del Escogido
1981-82 Leones del Escogido
1982-83 Tigres del Licey
1983-84 Tigres del Licey
1984-85 Tigres del Licey
1985-86 Águilas Cibaeñas
1986-87 Águilas Cibaeñas
1987-88 Leones del Escogido
1988-89 Leones del Escogido
1989-90 Leones del Escogido
1990-91 Tigres del Licey
1991-92 Leones del Escogido
1992-93 Águilas Cibaeñas
1993-94 Tigres del Licey
1994-95 Azucareros del Este
1995-96 Águilas Cibaeñas
1996-97 Águilas Cibaeñas
1997-98 Águilas Cibaeñas
1998-99 Tigres del Licey
1999-2000 Águilas Cibaeñas
2000-01 Águilas Cibaeñas
2001-02 Tigres del Licey
2002-03 Águilas Cibaeñas
2003-04 Tigres del Licey
2004-05 Águilas Cibaeñas
2005-06 Tigres del Licey
2006-07 Águilas Cibaeñas
2007-08 Águilas Cibaeñas
2008-09 Tigres del Licey
2009-10 Leones del EscogidoiCal Import + Google Calendar