How Did Baseball Affect Cuba In The Mid Twentieth Century?

1812 words - 8 pages

As Ernest Hemingway significantly expresses his affection for baseball in the book Old Man and the Sea, Cuban-culture similarly displays the strong feelings towards the sport as well. Baseball first played an important role in the late nineteenth century and continues to show the same impact today. It created a substantial amount of influence on the culture and also played an important role in the political view-point. In order for one to completely acknowledge the impact baseball had on the twentieth century, they must first assess the history of Cuban baseball. Next, one must learn how baseball played an acknowledgeable role in the political system. Lastly, they must interpret how significantly the sport changed the culture of Cuba.
Baseball was first introduced to Cuba in the 1860s by a few American sailors who were stationed in Cuba (Schur). During the beginning of the baseball age, Cuban citizens quickly accepted the game unto their culture and it became their most favored sport (McInnes). Prior to the acceptance of baseball, the Spanish had established bullfighting to be the leading sport of Cuba. During this time, Cuba was part of the Spanish colony which created conflicts between the natural-born Cubans and the Spanish authorities. Spain insisted on leaving the sport Bullfighting as the colonial sport because of their power over the island. Therefore, the Cuban people began to seek out baseball to initiate their process of gaining Independence from the Spanish. Baseball had been used as a significant source of revenue for the Cubans to afford to repel their relations with Spain (Wysocki). Eventually in the 1870s, they established an official baseball league in which they could formally compete (McInnes). There had only been three teams introduced at this time, those teams were the Club Habana, Club Matanzas and Club Almendares. These teams had strictly played small exhibitions, until a time in the beginning of 1891 where the United States traveled to Cuba in order to compete with them. Soon after this, Cuba came to an abrupt change in their society in 1898 by receiving official Independence from Spain (Schur). This began to allow the Cubans to expand their boundaries of the leagues further. As soon as the beginning of the century hit, they had allowed African-Americans to participate in their leagues and eventually created a “Negro League” which was designated strictly for African-Americans (Wysocki). The athlete’s lives however, would soon be changed by the dictatorship of Fulgencio Batista.
Fulgencio Batista was a dictator during the times of 1940 through 1944, and then again from 1952 to 1959. He was a very powerful man whom treated the citizens of Cuba immorally, and had close ties with the American mafia (Solomon). However, Batista did not adjust the laws regarding baseball or any other sport in Cuba. When the United States questioned him about his laws, he stated that “Cuba viewed baseball as less of a sport, but more of a religion”...

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