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The History Behind the Caribbean World Series

The history behind the Caribbean World Series details its triumphs, struggles, and why it will continue to be the most passionate tournament in the world.

Baseball continues to be one of the most widely played sports today. In particular, Major League Baseball is a league full of flavor, with players worldwide representing their countries proudly. Who knows if MLB would have the same appeal if it weren’t for the history behind the Caribbean World Series?

The Roots of the Series

If American baseball fans are counting down the days until Opening Day, they are missing out on one of the most vibrant atmospheres at the Caribbean World Series. The Serie del Caribe is a yearly tournament between the champions of the winter leagues.

The first World Series dates to 1949, as Alacranes del Almendares brought home the inaugural trophy. The World Series lasted until 1960 without a hit, until MLB Commissioner Ford Frick prevented Americans from playing in Cuba due to the ongoing conflict with the country and Fidel Castro. Cuba dominated the 1960 Caribbean World Series before the decade-long break, going 6-0 behind the right arms of Camilo Pascual and Pedro Ramos. The undefeated Cuban squad brought home their seventh championship during those 11 years.

Phase Two

Although tensions were still at an all-time high with Cuba, we saw the second stage of the Caribbean Series in 1970. Cuba and Panama got the boot, while the tournament welcomed the Dominican Republic. Puerto Rico, Venezuela, and the Dominican Republic had three teams participate in the rebooted version of the Caribbean Series. Navegantes del Magallanes from the Venezuelan League won with a 7-1 record.

From 1970-2013, the series showcased winners of the Dominican Winter League, Puerto Rican Winter League, Venezuelan League, and Mexican Pacific League, whereas the era from 1949-1960 only had the Venezuelan League and Puerto Rican league, along with Cuba and Panama’s winter Leagues.

Welcome Back, Cuba

In 2014, things began to simmer between Cuba and everyone involved in the series, so they returned triumphantly after a 53-year absence. With the re-emergence of Cuba, the once six-day tournament among six teams turned into an eight-day, round-robin extravaganza. This change allowed there to be a championship game rather than the team with the best record winning. Naranjeros de Hermosillo from the Mexican league was ultimately the winner.

The Series Today

This year’s Caribbean World Series brought teams from Colombia, Cuba, Panama, and Curacao into the fold, with the usual suspects of the Dominican Republic, Mexico, Puerto Rico, and Venezuela. The host of the series is Leones del Caracas of the Venezuelan league. That team also has the distinction of having 21 championships, which is the most for any team. As exciting as the historic 2022 MLB season was, the 2022 Caribbean World Series was equally electric, as Colombia won its first title.

The history behind the Caribbean World Series is tumultuous, with banishments and pauses. But there is no question about the excitement and the passion behind each game. As everyone waits for the 30 clubs from MLB, you can take time to enjoy the Caribbean World Series.


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