The school gym

After the birth of Licey as a baseball club in the nation's capital, the most important event for the development of the game was the inauguration of the School Gymnasium in 1911, a sports building that became a sports lodge in Santo Domingo. 

The School Gymnastic team was also born with her, commanded by Luis E. (Lulú) Pérez. Before this installation, baseball games were played on a lot in the Plaza Colombina and in the so-called Patio de los Báez, in the very center of the city.

For that period the most talented athlete who practiced baseball in the country was right-hander Enrique Hernandez, known by the nickname of Indio Bravo. According to what was recorded by the chroniclers of those times, he had extraordinary conditions in his right arm. He is credited with being the first Dominican to launch a first game without hits or careers in history, when the 20 of September of 1914 was played a game between a selection of natives against a team formed by the sailors of the American battleship Washington. . On the occasion, Hernandez struck out 21 rivals and only one runner was hit by mistake. Using the modern method to measure the domain of a pitcher in a match, the score achieved by Indio Bravo would be raised to 114. To have an idea of ​​the size of that figure, the highest achieved in the Major Leagues belongs to Kerry Wood of the Chicago Cubs at 1998, when he bleached the Astros, accepted a hit, struck out twenty and did not give bases by balls, to reach 104 points according to the mentioned method. Such a comparison, of course, has only an illustrative purpose and should keep the due distances of time and league.

In spite of the dynamism that it generated, the first years of the century were of a slow formation of conscience in the society on the baseball. The same social backwardness caused the rudimentary techniques that were then applied and it was not until 1916 that for the first time a foreign team made an exchange with a local one. That team came from Ponce, Puerto Rico, then a North American colony. He played against a chosen Dominican players from Santo Domingo and his lineup included a short field called Pedro Miguel Caratini, who would then return to the country at 1919, as a bookkeeper of the Ministry of Public Works of the Government of Occupation. At the exit of the intervening troops, Caratini remained in the country and developed an extraordinary work as an athlete and propeller of sport, to such an extent that he is one of the few players born outside the national territory who has been exalted to the Pavilion of the Fame of the Dominican Sports. Caratini became Licey's soul as defender of the shortstop and manager.

In the stage that covers from the first time that baseball was played in the national territory, in 1886, until 1951 it was walked a trajectory marked by lights and shadows, where passion, disorganization and the epic were amalgamated, fruit more than anything the ignorance prevailing in a country that was still tied to darkness and poverty. The stadiums in which it was played were very rudimentary. A sample of this we have in a game held in 1921, when a single shot by José Sabino became home run because the gardeners could not find the ball, it was lost among the high grass that covered the outer gardens of the Gym School. The games of the tournaments were made with extensive intervals between them, which allowed the players long breaks. That is why it is absurd to try to compare the athletes of that era with those that emerged later, which received another type of training and also greater demands. Due to the marked road isolation, the capital was the center of greater economic boom, which caused that the athletes developed in the interior emigrated to Santo Domingo looking for better opportunities. Such was the case of the wonderful pitcher Pedro Alejandro San, a native of Montecristi.

Taken from the book See you on the play! Baseball and Culture in the Dominican Republic, by the essayist Tony Piña

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