#Shortstops: Taking the Series worldwide
But the matchup between the Dodgers and the Yankees was not the first World Series of 1949. Eight months earlier, another Series took place, and it too featured a future Hall of Famer.
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Following the end of World War II, baseball was booming across the United States and throughout much of Latin America. In November of 1947 the Associated Press first reported that the possibility of a “Caribbean World Series” was being considered by the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues.
“Conferences with representatives of baseball from Cuba, Mexico, Panama, Venezuela and Puerto Rico about possible expansion of organized baseball to these nations are scheduled along with the annual minor league convention at Miami.”
Tournament play began on Feb. 20, 1949 in Havana, Cuba, with four teams representing each of the founding countries: Almendares (Cuba), Cervecería Caracas (Venezuela), Spur Cola (Panama) and Indios de Mayaguez (Puerto Rico). Each team had previously been crowned the champion of their league.
Among the artifacts preserved in the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum’s archives is a ball from the inaugural Caribbean World Series. Signatures cover the leather and, though time has faded their identities away, the ball remains an important piece of baseball history and a reminder of the global nature of the game.
Isabelle Minasian is the digital content specialist at the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum