The traditional Series between the champions of each country belonging to the Caribbean Confederation of Professional Baseball this year, will have a resounding change associated with the movement of the last-minute headquarters of Barquisimeto (Venezuela) to the capital of Panama, since they were divided in two groups of three teams each, called A and B.
The A is made up of the selections of Leñadores de Las Tunas (Cuba); Charros de Jalisco (Mexico) and Cardenales de Lara (Venezuela) and in B were the Estrellas Orientales (Dominican Republic), Cangrejeros de Santurce (Puerto Rico) and Toros de Herrera (Panama).
The tournament is scheduled for a double round and the first of each group will discuss the title on the 10th of this month.
The Cuban ship, Leñadores de Las Tunas, has rest on the opening day so it will debut on Tuesday, February 5 at the Rod Carew Stadium, at 3:00 in the afternoon, against the Charros de Jalisco, Mexico.
These contests began in the great Stadium of Havana on February 20, 1949. In that initial edition, Mayagüez of Puerto Rico competed; the Escogido of Venezuela; the Spur Cola of Panama, and for Cuba the Alacranes of Almendares, who won undefeated, directed by Fermín Guerra. In that first stage Cuba participated until 1960, since a year later the professional sport in the Island was abolished and the country was eliminated from the Confederation of the Caribbean. Of the twelve editions he won seven (five consecutive, between 1956 and 1960), Puerto Rico triumphed in four and Panama one time.
After several unsuccessful attempts it was decided to invite Cuba from 2014, with the representation of Villa Clara, national champion 2012-2013, something that has not stopped until now.
Los Vegueros de Pinar del Rio, directed by Alfonso Urquiola, achieved the eighth Cuban success in these events in 2015; In the following year Ciego de Ávila competed, which finished in the last position and later it would be the group Alazanes de Granma, in the series 2017 and 2018, in which neither could taste the triumph.
In all this history cannot miss the presence of Matanzas players, some of them included in the Hall of Fame of the Caribbean and other countries, as well as in the Palmar de Junco, the city of Matanzas.
RESULTS OF THE FIRST MATANZAS PLAYERS.
In the first two Series of 1949 and 1950, held in Havana and San Juan, Puerto Rico, it is striking that no Yumurino appeared in the Almendares teams that represented us. Already in the third, based in Caracas, Venezuela, the Habana team had among the gardeners a left-hander from the Pueblo Nuevo neighborhood, of tremendous quality, selected in its first Cuban championship as Rookie of the Year, named Edmundo Amorós Isasi.
Amorós, after his debut in that year 1951, participated in three other tournaments, which is why he is the most participant from Matanzas. In those four contests in the area he went to the bat 80 times, scored 17 runs, hit 27 jits, including four doubles and three triples with 19 RBIs and eleven baseballs received, for an average of 338.
His best season was the one of 1952, also with Havana, in Panama, in which he was leader of the hitters with 450 of average, besides commanding in notes with six; hits, nine and doubles four.
In that tournament in Panama debuted the pitcher Rogelio «Limonar» Martinez, who returns the following year with the same Havana group to the Series made in the Cuban capital. «Limonar» Martinez in those two appearances won a game, did not lose and worked for a 0.00 ERA by not allowing entries in three innings and a third.
Also in that joust of Havana, in 1953, another Matanzas, native of Manguito, Oscar Sardiñas, hitter that was used as an emerging. Sardiñas repeats in 1954, in Puerto Rico, with the Almendares and in 1955, in Venezuela, with the blue set itself. In his three appearances he was only six times at bat and hit one hit for an average of 167.
In the sixth series of 1954 with headquarters in San Juan, the Puerto Rican capital, debuts with the Almendares the native of the central Mercedes Carrillo, Angel Scull, who reappears in 1959, in Venezuela. In those two confrontations Scull was 51 times at bat, scored eleven times, hit 15 hits, including five doubles and a triple, drove in six runs and his average was 294.
For Caracas, 1955, José Valdivieso arrives, with Almendares. The native of the city of Matanzas, which was characterized by a good defense, participated in 1957 with the Marianao, based in Havana and repeated in 1958, in San Juan, Puerto Rico, with his own team. In three participations he was 52 times to the batting cajon, he connected thirteen hits, of them two triples; he pushed seven runners to a quotient of 250.
In 1956, in Panama, the Villareño-Matanzas player Sandalio Consuegra, with Cienfuegos in his only presence in Caribbean Series, in which he lost a shock and did not win, despite having worked in four chapters and a third without a clean race allowed for 0.00.
Also in that same tournament of 1956, has his only incursion the gardener of Pueblo Nuevo, in the city of Matanzas, Pedro Cardenal, used to the defense and as an emerging went blank in six times at bat.
Already in the meeting of 1957, in Havana and with the Marianao flannel, the perigordian Orestes Miñoso enters through the wide door, who repeats the following year with the Tigers themselves, in San Juan. Those were the two consecutive tournaments that Napoleon Reyes won as director.
In the two years «Minnie» Miñoso, as he was called in the United States, was 47 times at bat, hit 16 times, drove nine runners and averaged 340. It is striking that a hitter of his characteristics did not produce any extra base in those two championships.
Already for the Eleventh Series of 1959 raises the one that is considered the best Cuban waiter in the MLB, Antonio «Tony» Taylor, of the central Álava, in the municipality of Colón. Tony hit an average of 346, since in 26 times he hit nine hits, including a homer and three bases.
For the 1960 campaign, in Panama, the last after the triumph of the Revolution, came the Cienfuegos shortstop Leonardo Cárdenas, who produced for 250 with five hits, of them two doubles, in 20 times at bat.
After that season, the Caribbean Series was stopped for ten years until 1970 when it was a failure with only three teams, so in 1971 the entrance to the Caribbean Confederation was allowed to the Mexican Pacific League, representing the country Aztec and something later to the Dominican Republic. In this period other Cubans may have played in these tournaments, who were already developing their faculties abroad, but since they have no reliable data, we have not mentioned them.
Already after 2014, when Cuba was invited to participate in these championships, other Matanceros were acquired as reinforcements in each of the winning teams of the National Series:
-In 2014 he was with Villa Clara the infielder José Miguel Fernández
.-2015, with the champions Vegueros, from Pinar del Río, Yadiel Hernández and Yoanni Yera
.-2016, Ciego de Ávila, reinforced by Yurisbel Gracial and Yoanni Yera
.-2017, Granma, Víctor Víctor Mesa.-2018, with Granma, Yurisbel Gracial and Yoanni Yera
.-2019, Las Tunas, return Gracial and Yera.
In the case of Yera equals with Edmundo Amorós the number of shares of Matanzas with four.
In this last phase we can mention Yuniesky Sánchez, a Matanzas player, native of Guásimas, formed by the Cuban baseball system, who played in several Mexican teams, among them the Orange players of Hermosillo and who in 2014 joined the All-Star in third base.