Discovering that not every Latin-American country views soccer as the holy grail of sports might be a quite shocking revelation. As a result of the amount of following the sport generates from countries like Brazil, Argentina, Colombia, and other Latin countries, a lot of people expect the Dominican Republic to follow in the same suit.
However, they veer from this accepted continental norm and instead adopt baseball as the major sport of the country.
Here, we will go into the hows, whys, and whats of baseball players from the Dominican Republic. So, follow along to stay informed.
How Many Baseball Players From Dominican Republic
If we were to look at all the baseball players (active or inactive) that have come out of the Dominican Republic, this article would probably just go on without an end in sight. This number is so staggering, making them second only to the United States in the number of players produced.
However, to make things easier, we’ll take a look at two categories. First, we’ll deal with players currently in the Major League Baseball (MLB) and then professionals who are no longer active.
How Many Major League Baseball Players are From the Dominican Republic
There have been a significant number of players from the Dominican Republic who have gone on to play in Major League Baseball. So much so that in recent years, the Dominican Republic continues to rank as the top country with the most number of foreign players in the MLB.
As of 2022 however, there are over 200 active Dominican baseball players in the MLB.
How many Professional Baseball Players Died in the Dominican Republic
There have been quite a number of Dominican baseball legends who are no longer alive, but their achievements continue to live on. Pedro Gonzalez and Victor Cruz are among those who, though dead, still continue to live on in the hearts of lovers of baseball worldwide.
What Percentage of Major League Baseball Players are From the Dominican Republic
As we have previously mentioned, the number of Dominican players who make it onto the big stage of the MLB is shockingly large. While only second to the United States, they currently contribute about 11% of the total number of MLB players.
Why Does the Dominican Republic Have So Many Baseball Players
There are several factors that influence the number of baseball players from the Dominican Republic. Some of these include:
- Being the major sport of the country, baseball has become ingrained in the culture of the Dominicans. This has enabled it to become a major future aspiration for several citizens.
- Virtually all MLB teams have now set up academies and scouting centers in the Dominican Republic. These teams steadily invest in young athletes to help cultivate their talents.
- The baseball success stories of other Dominicans serves as a source of inspiration for the younger generation.
- Some teenage athletes in the Dominican Republic might believe that playing baseball is a good way to get out of poverty.
- Compared to other limited alternatives in the country, baseball presents an alluring alternative with the possibility of a successful career and worldwide fame.
What Famous Baseball Players are from the Dominican Republic
Since the country became largely involved in baseball and betting on it, Dominican players have always managed to create one legend or the other. In this section, we’ll explore the lives and achievements of 5 individuals who we could say are the most famous players from this Latin American nation.
This legendary designated hitter and first hitter dubbed “Big Papi” by his fans all over the world is one name we cannot exclude from this list. You can trace his trail of achievements and accolades right from when he first signed with the Seattle Mariners in 1992. He achieved his heroic status however, during his spell with the Boston Red Sox.
The continuous clutch performance he put out made him a fan favorite among bettors, especially the pivotal role he played in breaking the “Curse of the Bambino”. This ended the 86-year championship drought of the Red Sox, finally winning the World Series in 2004.
His contributions and achievements he won for Boston led to the Red Sox retiring his jersey number 34 after he hung the shirt at the end of the 2016 season.
Manoguayabo in the Dominican Republic definitely did not know the amount of history that would be written the day Pedro Jaime Martinez was born. His journey to being one of the most recognized pitchers in history was one filled with obstacles and hindrances along the way. From growing up in a poverty-stricken neighborhood, to getting signed to the Los Angeles Dodgers in 1988, he kept beating the odds.
His brilliance and excellence shined most however during his stint with the Montreal Expos and Boston Red Sox. Even with his unusual small stature for a contemporary power pitcher, he still established himself as a force to reckon with.
His performance attained a peak between 1997 and 2002. It was during this spell of time he posted a 1.74 ERA, struck out 313 batters, and won 3 Cy Young Awards in consecutive seasons.
On November 12, 1968, another baseball legend who would go down in history gave his first cry. Samuel Peralta Sosa was born in San Pedro de Macorís, Dominican Republic. When he grew up and finally joined the MLB, he went on to play for 19 seasons.
He started his professional career with the Texas Rangers, but achieved superstardom with the Cubs. He also later retired with the team he started with; the Rangers, where he hit his 600th career home run.
The greatest things about Sosa are his incredible strength and his part in the epic home run race with Mark McGwire in the 1998 campaign.
Juan Antonio Marichal Sanchez is among the pioneers of Dominican players in the big leagues. He is known for his high leg kick and incredible repertoire of pitches. His duels with other legendary pitchers of his era are works of art worthy of preservation in museums.
The impact he made on the game exceeds the barriers of the pitch, but extends to the minds of future generations. He is an inspiration for aspiring Dominican baseball players, encouraging them that they can make it all the way to the big stage.
With a reputation as one of the most feared hitters of his era, Guerrero is a no-doubt inclusion on this list. His penchant for hitting pitches beyond the strike zone is one of the qualities he brings to a team.
He was dubbed an All-Star nine times and won the American League MVP during his stint with the Los Angeles Angels. The various achievements to his name are among the reasons behind the fame of this Dominican-American.
In 2018, he was then rightly inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame, joining the other greats on this honor roll.
The passion Dominicans continue to show towards baseball and betting on the sport is one of the major reasons why players of this sport continue to rise on the international scene. So, do not be surprised if this trend goes on, and they become the face of the sport globally.