History of Baseball in Venezuela

Development and Spread

The game started to gain popularity among the "patiquines" or rich boys in Caracas. They were the ones able to buy the equipment when traveled to the United States. Hundreds of people went every Sunday to watch a Baseball match, between Caracas BBC and other new teams like "Vargas", "Independencia", "Los Samanes", "San Bernardino”, and "Magallanes" in 1917, which is still alive.

Los Samanes BBCPeople were marveled about the "Baseball Talking", which was a transformation of the original English terms to Spanish sounds, like "Stadium" to "Estadio", "Pitcher" to "Picher", "Strike" to "Estrai", "Ball" to "Bola", "Out" to "Ao", "Safe" to "Sei" and "Strikeout" to "Ponchao". Journalists and columnists in that time filled the newspapers and publications with the "Baseball Talking" and the sport began to expand to other cities in Venezuela.

 

William H. Phelps In 1912, William H. Phelps, an American immigrant, was a successful entrepreneur, and established a department store in Maracaibo, capital of Zulia State, that was the trading center of Venezuela, called the "American Bazaar". Phelps brought from the US, Baseball equipment to his store for retailing, but nobody knew how to play the game.

He went to the "Sports Social Club" and talked with its president, Raul Cuenca, about introducing a new game for the youngsters to find a market for his business. They used to practice only Track and Field, Chess and Rowing.

Soon he organized three teams, "The Red", "The Blue" and "The Black" and started to play every weekend in the "Diamante Veritas" (Veritas Diamond). Development of Baseball in Maracaibo was faster than in Caracas, people really loved the game from the very first moment, and each team began to build their own stadiums with some sponsorship. By 1920, Maracaibo had more than 10 stadiums and 30 different teams. Years later the city would admire for many years what they considered the greatest idol and legend of Venezuelan Baseball, Luis Aparicio "El Grande de Maracaibo" (The Great of Maracaibo). Aparicio Sr., for many analysts started the dynasty of great Venezuelan Shortstops.

In other cities like Maracay, capital of the Aragua State, lived the president, General Juan Vicente Gomez, dictator until 1935, ordered the organization of the "Maracay BBC", where he personally played as a pitcher, with his brothers and high government executives. Nearby cities like Valencia, Barquisimeto, and later Coro, began to feel the fever of the fast growing sport.

 

[Origins] [Professional Baseball]