Dominicans Dominate MLB
As Cuban professional baseball was shutting down after the Cuban Revolution in the late 1950s, Major League Baseball began ramping up scouting efforts in the Dominican Republic. Baseball had already been an important pastime and major sport in the Dominican Republic since its introduction in the 1880s. Today, the country is still a key market for the Major Leagues. Over more than three decades, baseball academies for young Dominican players have sprung up all over the island, creating a system of exploitation as well as opportunity.
From the Alou brothers in the 1960s to the Boston Red Sox’s Dominican trio of Pedro Martínez, David Ortiz, and Manny Ramírez, Dominicans have transformed Major League Baseball through their performance, style, and personalities.
Baseball cards from notable Dominican players
Ronald S. Korda Collection, Archives Center, National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution
Pedro Martínez came a long way from his one-room home in Manoguayabo, Dominican Republic. A 97-mph fastball, paralyzing change-ups, and precision pitches made Martínez a force on the mound. He was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 2015.
See Pleibol in 3D! Explore a model of the jersey.
Portraits in silhouette by Dominican artist Freddy Rodríguez honor Dominican players who made history in Major League Baseball.