The Dominican Republic is one of two nations that make up a gorgeous island called Hispaniola in the Caribbean Sea. It’s also the home country of many MLB players. Baseball was originally brought to the country by its Cuban neighbors in the late 19th century and flourished in the warm, tropical climate. There is now a Dominican professional league, and all 30 MLB clubs run their own academies on the island to nurture local talent, of which there is plenty.
Let’s take a look to see which of our favorite players hail from this lush Caribbean nation.
The Dominican Republic is home to many baseball greats. For starters, four MVP winners have hailed from the DR. Albert Pujols, who is from Santo Domingo, has won the award three times. Hall of Famer Vladimir Guerrero is another, plus Miguel Tejada and Sammy Sosa. Sosa hails from the biggest DR contributor to the MLB – a seaside city called San Pedro de Macorís – along with 136 other players.
The locale has also produced plenty of strong pitchers, and several of who have tossed no-hitters: Ervin Santana of La Romana, Francisco Liriano (San Cristóbal), José Jiménez (San Pedro de Macorís) and Ramón Martínez (Santo Domingo).
There are plenty of other players who hail from the DR. For example, current Rangers slugger Adrián Beltré, the newest member of the 3,000 Hits Club, comes from Santo Domingo. David Ortiz, who retired just a couple seasons ago, is from the same city. Bartolo Colón, an Altamira native, has been in the majors for two solid decades, and Tony Pena, who excelled as a manager as well as a player, is from Monte Cristi.
Hall of Famer Hometowns
As mentioned above, there have been a few MLB Hall of Famers who call the Dominican home. Vladimir Guerrero, a nine-time All-Star, is one. Hailing from a town called Nizao, Guerrero got his start with the Montreal Expos, where he spent the first eight seasons of his career. His offensive prowess certainly got a lot of notice, as he collected eight Silver Slugger awards and posted a career batting average of 0.318.
Pedro Martínez is another Hall of Famer hailing from the DR. Martínez is from a city called Manoguayabo and made his debut in 1992 with the Los Angeles Dodgers. An excellent pitcher, Martínez won the Cy Young Award three times, was an eight-time All-Star, and got a World Series ring in 2004 with the Red Sox, where he enjoyed great success on the mound. Martínez is a member of the 3,000 Strikeouts Club, which he reached in 2007.
The other Dominican HOFer is Juan Marichal from Laguna Verde. Marichal was a 10-time All-Star select and spent most of his career throwing for the San Francisco Giants. Marichal has a no-hitter to his name as well (from a 1963 game) and has a career ERA of 2.89. He was also a part of a contest with the Braves that saw the two starting pitchers toss a 15-plus inning complete game.
Get Your Baseball Gear On
No matter which of the 30 MLB teams you follow, chances are there are a few guys on the squad (or in the minors) who hail from the Dominican Republic. Show off your favorite Dominican player with fresh new gear from Fanatics, or hail the great ones from the past that you still love.