THE 1937 CHAMPIONSHIP

The results of 1936 caused an uncontrollable overflow of passions. The tycoons who managed the baseball capitaleño it was impossible to assimilate the defeat in front of the two teams of provinces, which were supposed weaker. 

As at the time there was no body to regulate this sport, and as professional as now, Licey and Escogido joined in a set called Dragones de Ciudad Trujillo. This union included both the players that both groups had under their control, as well as the economic resources. The 4 of March announced the merger, after a meeting held in the office of lawyer Julio A. Cuello, who would preside in the sixties the Dominican League of Professional Baseball, Inc. The team's board was headed by Federico Gerardino and had to José Enrique Aybar as vice-president; followed by Francisco Martínez Alba and Virgilio Abréu as second and third vice-presidents; Humberto Gómez Olivier, treasurer; Own

Cuello, Hostos Fiallo and Pilindo Bonetti, members. With all the intention that can be imagined, Rafael Leonidas Trujillo Molina was named as honorary president and protector partner.

This situation led to the other two groups, the Petromacorisanos and the Cibaeños, reacting willing to face the arrogance of the capital. The result was that the three teams placed on the ground the best talent that money could buy in the markets of that time. Such extremes were reached that important figures, such as Federico Nina, were accused in the United States of inciting the violation of contracts by making tempting offers to stellar players belonging to the Negro Leagues teams, in order to play for them. equipment that they represented. That professional Dominican baseball, still incapable of a cohesion that would allow it to endure and lay the foundations for institutionalization, dared to economically challenge the circuits of the area and the United States. Officially named Aguilas Cibaeñas, representatives of the rich central region of the country were chaired by René Moscoso, with Pedro Jorge Arias as vice-president; Pedro Casals, secretary; and Jorge Jorge, treasurer. The members were Luis Mercado, Rafael Meyreles, Augusto Aybar, Manuel Pastoriza, Juan Antonio Bisonó and Augusto Vega.

Dragons came together at some point Satchel Paige, James (Cool Pope) Bell and Joshua Gibson, the three members of the Major League Hall of Fame. With the Santiago team another member of that honorable American institution, Martin Dihigo, played first as a player and then as a leader. They added the best of Dominican talent, as well as Cubans, Puerto Ricans and Venezuelans. The leader of the Dragons was the Cuban Lázaro Salazar, who also defended the initial and masterfully threw. The impact of what happened in that time reverberated with intensity throughout the rest of America where baseball was played and not a few publications by respected academic authorities who have referred to the events that took place then. Despite the great investment made and as a demonstration of how fickle baseball is, in the first part of the season the Dragons occupied the final position in the standings. That prompted a change of command. It took the presidency of the group José Enrique Aybar, who had to mobilize intensely to add the necessary human material to conclude in the first position and obtain the pennant. They invested large sums of money for the time, because Paige was paid the sum of 30,000.00 dollars, which would leave his salary and that of eight other players for about five weeks of play, for which he would distribute the money as best considered.

Finally, the captaleños won 18 wins against 13 defeats, the Cibaeñas Eagles concluded with the 13-15 brand and the Estrellas Orientales with 11-14. Martín Dihigo and Santos Amaro, both of the Eagles, each fired four homers and led that department; Joshua Gibson achieved the best batting average, with .453, but in thirteen games and 53 turns, so it is understood that Dihigo, with his .351 percentage in 97 trips to rubber, should be recognized as the owner of that. title, in addition to gathering 6-4 brand as a launcher. Gibson in his brief performance of thirteen games towed 21 teammates, which exceeded in that line to his teammate Silvio Garcia, who pushed 20 in 31 games. Without access to other important statistics, as is the average of effectiveness, it can be noted that Satchell Paige won eight wins in ten decisions, to lead the tournament's pitchers.

It could be thought that after that unusual event, fruit of an excessive passion that infected everyone and left the bank accounts of the baseball magnates in red, the result would be a progress of baseball in the country. It was not so. That sport fell into another lethargy, which this time would be longer. The lack of maturity and vision caused such a result and even when it can be said that in that tournament the best available players were placed on the ground that money could pay, at the same time it must be recognized that they did not act within the parameters indicated the prudence to achieve a consistent growth of the sport. The reality is that the 1937 experience did more harm than good to Dominican baseball. After that year the numbness was evident. Short tournaments were held and most of the star players went abroad to play, where they shone brightly.

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

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