is the national sport in Venezuela, with its origin dating
as far back as 1895. Baseball’s popularity in Venezuela
sky-rocketed in the 1940s, after Venezuela won the Amateur
Baseball World Championship over Cuba in La Havana, Cuba in
1941. This led to the development of the Venezuelan Professional
Baseball League in 1946.
Currently, the Venezuelan Winter League plays
a 62-game schedule with 8 teams from October to December.
The winner advances to the Caribbean Series against other
Latin teams, which Venezuela has won six times, mostly recently
in 2006. In that Series, they went a perfect 6-0 in round-robin
competition. Baltimore Orioles catcher Ramon Hernandez was
the Series MVP, hitting .542, with 3 HRs, and 8 RBIs. Play
the video below to see Venezuela’s Los Leones’
stirring Ninth Inning comeback over the Dominican Republic
in the clinching game of the 2006 Caribbean Series.
In 1997, Major League Baseball started the Venezuelan
Summer League as an alternative to its minor league system
in the United States. Venezuelan players signed by MLB teams
typically play in the Summer League for a year or two before
the best are promoted to start professional ball in the States.
By the end of the 2006 season, almost 200 Venezuelan
born players had made it to the major leagues in the United
States, starting with pitcher Alex Carrasquel who made his
debut with the Washington Senators on April 23, 1939. Other
Venezuelan stars include Dave Concepcion, Tony Armas, Ozzie
Guillen, and Andres “the Big Cat” Galarraga. The
major leagues are currently populated with a host of Venezuelan
stars, such as Wilson Alvarez, Omar Vizquel, Bobby Abreu,
Freddy Garcia, Magglio Ordonez, Carlos Zambrano, and Miguel
Cabrera. Luis Aparacio, born April 29, 1934 in Maracaibo,
is the only Venezuelan born player in the Hall of Fame. He
was inducted into the Hall in 1984, after accumulating 9 Gold
Glove Awards and 10 All-Star berths as a shortstop with the
White Sox, Orioles, and Red Sox in 18 seasons.
of Venezuelan Winter League
of Venezuelan Summer League
Available for Sale
Baseball in the Barrios, Henry Horenstein
World Baseball Classic Venezuela Pin
Players Born in Venezuela