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Cuban Sports: Baseball

Cuban sbaseball
Figure 1.--Here we see the famous Cuban Hall of Fame pitcher, Adrrian Zabala teaching the art of pitching, Heee we see a group of boys with some girls during a baseball clinics in Havana in 1949.

Sports is of course a popular activity. The Caribbean including Cuba is different than the rest of Latin America. Throughout Latin America there was one dominant sport--futball (soccer). This is not the casse in the Caribbean, In the Caribbean, especially Cuba, the Dominican Rrpublic, and Puerto Rico), baseball was king. Interestingly, the popularity of baseball in Cuba began while Cuba was still a Spanish colony. We are not sure why this happened. Baseball began to be popular in Cuba during the late-19th century, not long after it began its meteoric rise in America after the Civil War (1860s). Nemesio Guillot was the father of Cuban baseball. He founded the first important baseball club on the island. Baseball was already the the most played sport in in Cuba (1870s). This was before the Spanish Anerican War and the United States intervention (1898). Baseball of course was created in America, but because of its immense popularity, baseball was adopted as Cuba's national game and as an independent nation in the early-20th century. Despite its American origin, baseball became strongly associated with Cuban nationalism. Spanish sports like bullfighting disappeared in Cuba. Baseball Is in many ways an unlikely sport to become popular in the Caribbean because equipment is needed and a field of some sort, although kids no doubt grew up playing stickball. Caribbean baseball was basically seoparate from American baseball. This changed after World War II after Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier. This added a new dimension to Caribbean baseball. It created a route to prosperity for Caribbean youth. This path was closed by Castro and his Communist Revolution (1959). Since then Caribbean stars came mostly from Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic. It was somewhat restored under Presidebnt Obama, when the Cuban Goverment agencies got Obama to agree to give them some of the money when a Cuban player gained a major league contract. The league system in Cuba todasy is nominally amateur. The best players become part of the national team, where they can earn a little money for both training and playing in international events.


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Created: 3:11 AM 7/19/2023
Last updated: 3:12 AM 7/19/2023