Baseball, the national sport of Cuba, was first brought into the country in the 1860’s by emigrants from the Americas and traders and sailors who docked in Cuba.
Nemisio Guillo played an important role in introducing Baseball to Cuba and first made a name for himself when he brought back a baseball bat and ball to the country. He is also responsible for the formation of a Baseball team in 1868, by the name of Habana Baseball.
Today, Baseball is a very important sport in Cuba and the country hosts many games throughout the year. Visitors to Cuba are sure to get caught up in the baseball frenzy that surrounds this sport, if they should visit when a game is being held.
However, Cuba did not always favour the sport and Baseball was often banned by political parties in the country. During the first war of Cuban independence, the Spanish authorities imposed a ban on this sport. The reason for this was that the Spanish felt that the Cubans preferred Baseball over the Spanish bullfights which the Cubans were forced to attend as a form of patronage to their Spanish rulers. Eventually, playing Baseball became a harmless form of Cuban rebellion against the Spanish authority. This is one of the reasons baseball holds a place of importance.
The Cuban League was a baseball league organised in 1878 as a protest to the Spanish and a symbol of freedom to the Cuban people. It consisted of only three teams. Gradually, these teams grew in strength and success went on to win numerous competitions against some of the major league Baseball teams from America.
An interesting look at the game on the island from ESPN.
Some of the best players to come out of the country: