With the Dominican irruption in the Big leagues In the second half of the last century, figures such as Ricardo Carty, César Cedeño, Pedro Guerrero, Tony Fernández, George Bell, Alfredo Griffin, Joaquín Andújar and Rafael Batista made San Pedro de Macorís the cradle of Dominican baseball players, not only in quality but also in quantity.
In fact, it was the second demarcation by place of birth of players since Santo Domingo (province and National District) is ahead, not only because it is the most populated demarcation in the territory, but also because it has the hospital and logistics infrastructure that facilitates the births.
However, in little more than two decades into the 21st century, Series 23 has lost that privileged place it enjoyed and has done so at the hands of another province bordering Greater Santo Domingo. San Cristóbal has been from the year 2000 to 2021 the new great manufacturer of baseball players towards the Big leagues.
At the end of the last century, the then National District had seen the birth of 64 of the 285 players who reached the Big Show. Then anchored San Pedro (60), Santiago (26), San Cristóbal (25) and Peravia (15).
What has happened since then is that the production of players has skyrocketed in most provinces and only San Pedro de Macorís and El Seibo have a negative balance. San José de Ocoa belonged to Peravia until 2000.
Santo Domingo (which was politically divided in 2002 and no Major League player born that year has yet arrived) maintains its lead with 144 players born in that area, an increase of 125%.
But the order is now followed by San Cristóbal, which increased by 132% by adding 58 players; San Pedro placed 54 for a 10% drop and dropped to third; Santiago dropped to fourth although he brought in 43 players for a 65% increase and Peravia nearly doubled his production with 29, a 93% jump.
The largest percentage increase occurred in Monseñor Nouel, who went from one player until 2000 (Juan Espino, in 1982) to having 17 in the last 21 years for 467%. María Trinidad Sánchez shot up 467% when going from three to 17 and Azua jumped 275% after jumping from 4 in the last century to 15 in which his first fifth has already passed.
What happened in SC?
In Haina, the municipality of the Cradle of the Constitution, Felipe Rojas Alou was born, the first baseball player trained on Dominican soil who stormed the Great Circus, back in 1958. Men like Mateo Alou, Pascual, Mélido and Carlos Pérez, José Rijo, José Uribe , José Vizcaíno and Raúl Mondesí warned of the talent mine that was on the west side of the capital.
For Eugenio Báez, historical leader of the little leagues in San Cristóbal, the turn of the century brought unity among the leaders of minor baseball and today the association brings together 89 leagues, although he estimates that the number exceeds one hundred.
Báez, who is part of the organizers of the international Pony League series, understands that this harmony is added to the establishment of a series of high-performance programs, which has facilitated the application of advanced techniques to create the perfect gear to develop players.
He cites the case of coaches such as Basilio Vizcaíno “Cachaza” and Jaime Ramos, who built modern infrastructures there and turned the province into a benchmark for attracting talent from other locations.
“There are many cases of players who signed and did not go beyond AA or AAA, they came with that knowledge, installed programs and that has helped a lot,” says Báez, on the phone.
Amaury Nina is a native of San Cristóbal and also credits the entrepreneurship of these trainers, but also credits the educational level of adolescents in that province, a fundamental factor for the approach. Nina, president of the International Prospect League and whose program was born in the province before moving it to Santo Domingo Este, understands that he has also helped the example of players who have established themselves in Big leagues without breaking ties with the city.
He cites the case of Ervin Santana, who maintains ties to the city and has helped many young people. He also believes that the figure of Vladimir Guerrero Sr., from neighboring Peravia, has had an impact, due to the simplicity and the human message that he has sent.
The population dimension of the province (fourth largest in the country with more than 600 thousand inhabitants) is also a factor mentioned by Nina and Báez.
John Uribe, Francisco LirianoSantiago Casilla, Ivan Nova, Pedro Strop, Francis Reyes and Framber Valdez are from Palenque; Michael Pineda and Jeurys Family of Yaguate; Miguel Andújar de Lavapiés; Manuel Margot and Héctor Neris are from Villa Altagracia, Frankie Montas is from Canasta, Jimmy Paredes is from Haina and Alexis Casilla is from Cambita.