Baseball has a long history in the United States, but it also has strong roots in the Caribbean and Latin America, particularly in the Dominican Republic. Cubans were the first to bring the game from the US to their country in the 19th century, and later, wealthy Cubans introduced it to the Dominican Republic. Over the following decades, the sport became deeply ingrained in Dominican culture, while in the United States, baseball evolved into a multimillion-dollar industry.
Eventually, the United States began to seek out Cuban baseball talent. But when diplomatic relations between the two countries deteriorated, the Dominican Republic emerged as the primary focus of Major League Baseball’s talent pipeline.
As Dominicans demonstrated their skill and success as baseball players, the MLB started establishing academies in the Dominican Republic, which were affiliated with MLB teams in the United States. This system facilitated the influx of many talented Dominican players into MLB teams. Currently, Dominicans dominate Major League Baseball in the United States, making up more than 10 percent of all players in the league. They significantly outnumber players from other foreign-born countries.
To gain a deeper understanding of how baseball spread throughout the Dominican Republic and why the island produces so many MLB players, watch the latest episode of Vox Atlas.
You can find this video and the entire library of Vox’s videos on YouTube.