Baseball is by far the most popular sport in the Dominican Republic today. After the United States, the Dominican Republic has the second-highest number of baseball players in the U.S. Major League Baseball (MLB).
The Dominican Republic has participated in the Baseball World Cup winning one Gold (1948), three Silver (1942, 1950, 1952), and two Bronze (1943, 1969), second behind Cuba’s record of twenty-five Gold, two Silver and two Bronze.
The country also participated in the 2006 World Baseball Classic, the inaugural tournament in which they finished semifinalists along with Korea.
Historically, the Dominican Republic has been linked to MLB since Ozzie Virgil, Sr. became the first Dominican to play there. Other very notable players were Juan Marichal, Felipe Alou, Rico Carty, George Bell, Jose Rijo and Stan Javier, among many others.
The Dominican Republic also has its own baseball league, which runs its season from October to January (called The Winter League by MLB), and includes six teams: Tigres del Licey (Licey Tigers), Aguilas Cibaeñas (Cibao Eagles), Gigantes del Cibao (Cibao Giants), Azucareros del Este (Eastern Sugar-makers), Estrellas Orientales (Eastern Stars), and Leones del Escogido (Escogido Lions). Many MLB players and minor leaguers play in this six-team league during the off-season. As such, the Dominican winter league serves as an important “training ground” for MLB.
The National Basketball Association (NBA), also has players from the Dominican Republic.
Boxing is one of the more important sports after baseball, and the country has produced scores of world-class fighters and world champions.