In 1960, the U.S. government began an embargo against Cuba; five years later, Major League Baseball instituted the amateur draft. As Mark Kurlansky points out in The Eastern Stars: How Baseball Changed the Dominican Town of San Pedro de Macorís, these two decisions helped make the Dominican Republic—a small country that until 1956 had not produced a single Major League player—the world’s greatest per capita source of Major Leaguers. Dominican players became baseball’s biggest bargain; last year, one in every ten Major Leaguers was Dominican.Read the rest. And go Sox.
(The pitcher above is Juan Marichal, still the only Dominican in Major League Baseball’s Hall of Fame.)