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The historic stadium Palmar del Junco in Pueblo Nuevo, Matanzas

Baseball as sport has its origins in the Batos game that Cuban aboriginal people used to play, especially the tainos , the Spanish chroniclers who traveled to the island in different conquest and colonization expeditions have provided evidence of this activity.

That game was played at the batey and it was a primitive ball play to hit a ball made of resin and shaped leaves with a piece of a tree branch cut in the way of a spade.

Among other related facts, according to linguists there is a relation in the origin of the words bate (bat) and batear (hit) with the corresponding words batey and batos used by the tainos.

There is no information regarding baseball history until the year 1845 in which Alexander J. Cartwright founded the Knickerbockers team, first team in New York and in the world and from this moment on the practice of this new sport began to extend it through the Caribbean lands. It is said that the American marines were its main promoters and Cuba was the first country to welcome this activity.

Bullfighting was very famous in the island at that time but this activity began to be replaced by the new sport that required greater power of concentration and that it was not as cruel as the bullfighting.

In Matanzas as well as in Havana the game started to spread and in October 1st of the year 1868 Francisco de Lersundi, General Captain of the island, passed a law banning the baseball practice throughout the national territory because he considered it "an anti-Spanish game with insurrection tendencies, opposed to the language and favored the lack of affection to Spain...".

After the execution of the medicine students in 1871, several rich families sent their children to study to schools and universities of United States. Nemesio Guillo (founder of the Cuban baseball) and Jose Dolores Amieva together with his two brothers were part of this wave that introduced the technique and helped to promote the sport they knew in America.

They created a team in Matanzas and began to play in wastelands. The historic stadium Palmar del Junco in Pueblo Nuevo, Matanzas was built soon and it was considered as the first of its kind in the island where the first Cuban official baseball game took place in 1874.

The Palmar del Junco field belonged to the ancestors of doctor Martin del Junco, a famous lawyer, Attorney of the Havana Court and amateur pitcher in his student years. Squares under roof and outdoors were built that later were called stands under the sun. The first play in the Palmar del Junco was celebrated on December 27, 1874 between the Matanzas and Havana teams.

According to a report four days later in the El Artista newspaper published in Havana city, the representative team of Havana won with 51-9 points supported by the pitch of Ricardo Mora and the hit of catcher Esteban Bellan of the Mutual Club in New York in the champion leagues.

Bellan was not only the promoter of all Cuban and Latino-American people to play in the leagues in 1871 but also he became in the first Cuban and Latin American player to hit three home runs in a game. According to the report signed by a sport editor named Henry. A large audience witnessed the game and the simple uniform of the Habana Club team drew peoples attention.

The challenge finished at 5:35 minutes that afternoon, and the dark did not allow continuing the play. Pitcher Ricardo Mora began and ended the play that also scored a home run.

Three years later, in 1877 the first international game with an American team was held, in Palmar de Junco, this team arrived to Matanzas on board of an American training ship.

A year later, in 1878 the passion for baseball emerged among the Cuban people. The Professional League of the Cuban Baseball was created. The stadiums were built everywhere in Havana where dozens of enthusiasts came to see baseball games in places like Canteras de Medina, Melitón, Hacendados, Placer de Peñalver and Quinta de Torrecillas in Puentes Grandes.

In that same year, the Spanish wanted to impose the football play in Cuba as they considered it the sport of the kings, but it was so late because the Cubans became the kings of baseball.

The creation of the first Cuban baseball play was on December 29, 1878 with a challenge between Havana and Almendares that became real rivals of the professional baseball. The play took place in Havana on the Linea street, Vedado where the America Arias hospital is placed today.

The professional baseball was practiced in Cuba until 1961.

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