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Dominicans in the Major Leagues
Table of Dominicans in the Major Leagues
Dominican professional baseball teams
Dominicans in the Major Leagues
From the creation of the Federación Dominicana de Béisbol in 1950, a new stage began. The annual national championship was reestablished (1951); the Estadio Presidente Trujillo was opened (1955, though today it bears the name Estadio Quisqueya) at a cost of more than three and a half million pesos; the most exciting games are filmed and shown in movie theaters and afterward on television; and the games were shifted to night games (the seasons of 1955 to 1959 were dubbed the “time of the lights”, due to the arrival of electricity to the stadiums). Foreigners like Alonzo Perry (“El Señor Refuerzo”), who played for seven years for Licey, William Brown, Roy Partlow, Hass and Mario “Sugar” Caine participated in the series of those years.
But above all, it was the time in which Dominicans debuted in the major leagues: the era of the idols. The first ballplayer to do so was Osvaldo Virgil, playing for the New York Giants on September 27, 1956. He was soon followed by Felipe y Mateo Rojas Alou, Juan Marichal, Julián Javier, Ruddy Hernández, and Guayubín Olivo. And many others arrived to the U.S. minor leagues.
The strengthening of relations between the national league with the major leagues, especially from 1955 on, reduced the number of exchanges and contracts with veterans and teams from the Caribbean and other Latino countries, though it allowed the game’s local quality to rise, as it permitted our best players to develop in the major leagues and allowed great U.S. players to come and offer their services to local teams.
From the 50s to the beginning of the 80s, U.S. clubs lent some of their best players to the Dominican league. Some of these names include: Bob Gibson, Willie McCovey, Gaylord Perry, Willie Stargell, Phil Niekro, Mark McGwire; Bill Madlock, Ralph Garr, George Foster, Roger Maris, Gene Lamont, Frank Howard, Willie Kirkland, Cecil Cooper, Gary Matthews, Gary Maddox, John Mayberry, Tim Raines, Tim Wallacha, Doyle Alexander, Tom Hume, Mickey Mahler, Jim Beaucham, Billy Buckner, Steve Garvey, Howard Johnson, Von Joshua, Kenny Landreaux, Tom Paciorek, Mike Scioscia, Darren Holmes, Charlie Hough, Mike Norris, Dave Stewart, Mike Torrez, Bobby Valentine, John Roseboro and Bill Mazeroski. Tom LaSorda coached Licey for four seasons.
The close baseball relationship between the two countries has allowed more than 385 Dominican players to arrive to the major leagues. Juan Marichal was the first Dominican player and one of the first Latin Americans to enter the Hall of Fame, while Felipe Rojas Alou, one of the best offensive players in the 60s and part of the 70s, was the first Dominican to coach a team in the major leagues. Rojas Alou was coach of the Montreal Expos for 10 years, from 1992, and has been manager of the San Francisco Giants since 2003. He was awarded the Coach of the Year Award by the National League in 1994.
They are accompanied by names such as Ricardo Carty, batting leader in the National League for the Atlanta Braves in 1970; Alfredo Griffin, Rookie of the Year in 1979; Pedro Guerrero and José Rijo (both have received Most Valuable Player in the World Series), Tony Peña, Sammy Sosa, Pedro Martínez, David Ortiz, Manny Ramírez, and Alex Rodríguez. The latter, born in the United States to Dominican parents, signed the most lucrative contracts ever to be signed in the history of the major leagues in 2000.