WBSC President Riccardo Fraccari honours 60th anniversary of Cuba's national baseball league
Cuba celebrated on Friday, 14 January, the 60th anniversary of the founding of the Cuban National Baseball League (Serie Nacional) in the venue where it all started, Latinoamericano Stadium in the capital Havana.
Pedro Chavez, Jorge Trigoura and Julio Gonzalez, three legendary players of those days, were honored before historian Félix Julio Alfonso López remembered that Fidel Castro himself hit the ceremonial first ball off pitcher Jorge Santín on that day in 1962.
"The newborn league became the first National Championship played in our country," commented López
Cuban Baseball Commissioner Juan Reinaldo Pérez Pardo announced that the 61st edition of the league would open on 23 January with the game between defending champions Granma and Matanzas. The 16 participants will play a 75-game regular season until 11 May.
The top eight finishers will advance to the playoffs. WBSC President Riccardo Fraccari attended the night. He presented awards to the National Institute of Sports (INDER), the National Olympic Committee and honoured the Latinoamericano Stadium for its 75 years of service.
Fraccari tweeted that he has fond memories of being the first international umpire to work games in the Cuba, indicating that it was an honour to be present for the league's 60th anniversary.
The night ended with an exhibition game between the Havana Industriales and defending champions Granma.