The Cuban National Series (Spanish: Serie Nacional de Béisbol, SNB) is the primary domestic baseball competition in Cuba. Formed after the dissolution of the Cuban League in the wake of the Cuban Revolution, the Series is a part of the Cuban baseball league system.
|Current season, competition or edition:|
|Founded||1961 (62 years ago)|
|No. of teams||16 (since 2012–13)|
|Las Tunas |
|Most titles||Industriales (12)|
|TV partner(s)||Tele Rebelde (Cuba)|
Cubamax TV (USA, since 2019–20 season)
|Streaming partner(s)||YouTube (worldwide via Game Time platform of the WBSC YouTube channel, since 2020–21)|
This section needs additional citations for verification. (August 2023)
The Cuban National Series was instituted in replacement of the Cuban League, which had operated since 1878, as in March 1961 the Cuban government abolished professional baseball. The Cuban League typically consisted of four teams; the Cuban National Series has played with more than four teams since its 1965–66 season, peaking at 18 teams from the late 1970s into the early 1990s.
The Cuban National Series operated as a winter league for most of its history, generally playing a regular season stretching from early August until late January. As of 2023[update], the regular season spans late March to early July. An all-star game is held yearly at midseason. In Havana, most of the top tier players take the field for Industriales, traditionally the strongest team in the league. Other typically strong teams include those from Santiago de Cuba Province, Pinar del Río Province and Villa Clara Province.
In March 1982, the league was marred by a gambling-related corruption scandal, which saw at least 17 players and coaches suspended and arrested.
As of early 2019, baseball players in Cuba received $40 per month.
The COVID-19 pandemic resulted in no 2021–22 season being played.
The league serves as the first stage in the selection of players for the Cuba national baseball team for participation in international competitions and for both the World Baseball Classic and baseball at the Summer Olympics, when contested. Traditionally, the national team, known as Preseleccion, is selected from the Cuban National Series and practices in Havana. Sometimes more than one team[clarification needed] can be asked to supply players for international duty as part of the national team, from Cuban National Series teams and recently from the Cuban Elite League.
From 2016 to 2019, the league champion advanced directly to the Caribbean Series as the Cuban delegate. Representation in the Caribbean Series was transferred to the Cuban Elite League, which plays a winter schedule, following its 2022–23 premiere season.
League structure Edit
From 1961–62, the inaugural season, through 1976–77, league size increased from just four charter teams to 14 teams, while the length of schedule grew from 27 to 99 games, but then reduced to 39. Champions were decided based on end-of-season standings with no postseason, comparable to the National League and American League of Major League Baseball before 1969. In the event of a tie at the end of the season, a best-of-three tiebreaker series was played.
|1961–62||4||27||Charter teams: Azucareros, Habana, Occidentales, Oriente|
|1962–63||4||30||Habana renamed as Industriales|
|1963–64||4||36||Oriente renamed as Orientales|
|1964–65||4||39||Azucareros replaced by Granjeros|
|1965–66||6||65||New teams: Centrales, Henequeneros|
|1966–67||6||65||Henequeneros replaced by Las Villas|
|1967–68||12||99||Orientales renamed as Oriente|
Left league: Occidentales, Centrales
New teams: Azucareros, Camagüey, Habana, Henequeneros, Matanzas, Mineros, Vegueros, Pinar del Río
|1972–73||14||78||New teams: Constructores, Serranos|
|1974–75||14||39||Left league: Camagüey, Habana, Industriales, Las Villas, Matanzas, Oriente, Pinar del Río|
New teams: Agricultores, Arroceros, Cafetaleros, Citricultores, Forestales, Ganaderos, Metropolitanos
The 1977–78 season followed the nation's administrative restructuring of the provinces of Cuba, announced in December 1976, resulting in changes to multiple teams within the league. Through the 1991–92 season, the league had 18 teams, as 11 provinces fielded a single team each, three provinces fielded two teams each, and the special administrative area of Isla de la Juventud (originally named Isla de Pinos) fielded a team. Also, aluminum bats similar to those used in American college baseball debuted, and use of the designated hitter was initiated.
In 1983–84, the league divided into divisions for the first time, with the league split into an upper-half "first division" and lower-half "second division" at the mid-point of the regular season. Division champions were based on end-of-season standings with no postseason. This format was only used for two seasons. In 1985–86, the league created Eastern and Western divisions, each with nine teams, and had the top two teams of each division advance to postseason play. The postseason first consisted of a round-robin tournament, with each team playing the other three teams twice each—this was used through the 1988–89 season. In 1989–90 (only), the two division winners faced off in a best-of-seven series to determine a league champion, while the two division runners-up met in a best-of-five series to determine third place. In 1990–91, the postseason format was changed to a bracket tournament, with two semifinal series (each best-of-three) followed by a final series (best-of-seven). In 1991–92, the semifinals were changed to best-of-five.
|1983–84||18||75||Split into two divisions at midseason; no postseason|
|1985–86||18||48||Two divisions; four-team round-robin postseason|
|1989–90||18||48||Two divisions; division winners meet in title series|
|1990–91||18||48||Two divisions; four-team bracket tournament|
In 1992–93, league size reduced from 18 to 16 teams, as Pinar del Río Province and Matanzas Province, each of which had been fielding two teams each, began fielding a single team each. The 16 teams were divided into four groups (divisions) with the top team from each group advancing to postseason play. The postseason consisted of best-of-seven semifinal series followed by a best-of-seven final series.
In 1997–98, the postseason was expanded to eight teams, as division winners plus the next four teams with the best winning percentage advanced to the postseason. A quarterfinal stage was added, contested as best-of-five series.
In 2008–2009, the league was reorganized into two eight-team divisions, East and West, with the top four teams from each division qualifying for the postseason, and all playoff series contested as best-of-seven.
In 2011–2012, there were 17 competing teams, as the then-La Habana Province was split into Artemisa Province and Mayabeque Province. Thus, the West division had nine teams, including the two new clubs. The league returned to 16 teams beginning with the 2012–13 season when the Metropolitanos (long seen as a farm club of the powerhouse Industriales) were disbanded after nearly four decades of play.
In 2012–13, the zone qualification format was dropped in favor of a phase qualification system. All teams played 45 games in a "classification phase". The top eight ranked teams from this phase moved on to the "qualification phase" to determine playoff participants. In 2016–17, the number of teams in the qualification phase was dropped to six. In 2020–21, the phase format was removed from the league, and the league determined qualifiers based on a single table of standings, with the top teams at the end of the regular season advancing to the postseason, thereby ending divisional play.
To accommodate the 2013 World Baseball Classic, contested in March, the league took a six-week break after the all-star game of February 3. The league played a shortened 45-game season, with all 16 teams competing in a single table format (doing away with the regular two division format). The bottom eight seeded teams then played amongst themselves in the consolation round, while the top eight did the same for the championship. In 2014, the consolation round format for the midseason was officially adopted, effectively making it a de facto wild card game with the winners having a chance to make it to the postseason.
After no games were played for a year following the end of the 2020–21 season in January 2021, play resumed with a 75-game schedule, all contested within a single calendar year for the first time, as the 2022 season spanned January to June. The change to a summer league schedule was made official, and starting with the 2023 season, the league runs from March to July with a schedule of 75 games per team in the regular season, followed by three playoff rounds culminating in a championship. The Cuban Elite League was initiated to maintain active competition during the winter months.
Current teams Edit
National Series champions Edit
Before the 1985–86 season, champions were decided by final regular-season standings. The 1962–63 and 1971–72 seasons saw two teams finish tied for first, so three-game tie-breaker series were played to determine a champion.
A postseason was first played in January 1986, contested by four teams. Initially staged as a round-robin tournament, it changed to a bracket tournament in January 1990. In January 1998, the postseason was expanded to eight teams.
Instances where a team has won the championship more than once are numbered in parentheses. In seasons that spanned two calendar years, the "Year" column is when the season ended.
|3||1964||Industriales (2)||Ramón Carneado|
|4||1965||Industriales (3)||Ramón Carneado|
|5||1966||Industriales (4)||Ramón Carneado|
|8||1969||Villa Clara||Servio Borges|
|9||1970||Henequeneros||Miguel A. Domínguez|
|10||1971||Villa Clara (2)||Servio Borges|
|11||1972||Villa Clara (3)||Pedro P. Delgado|
|12||1973||Industriales (5)||Pedro Chávez|
|13||1974||Habana (2)||Jorge Trigoura|
|17||1978||Vegueros||José M. Pineda|
|18||1979||Sancti Spíritus||Cándido Andrade|
|19||1980||Santiago de Cuba||Manuel Miyar|
|20||1981||Vegueros (2)||José M. Pineda|
|21||1982||Vegueros (3)||Jorge Fuentes|
|22||1983||Villa Clara (4)||Eduardo Martín|
|23||1984||Citricultores (2)||Tomás Soto|
|24||1985||Vegueros (4)||Jorge Fuentes|
|25||1986||Industriales (6)||Pedro Chávez|
|26||1987||Vegueros (5)||Jorge Fuentes|
|27||1988||Vegueros (6)||Jorge Fuentes|
|28||1989||Santiago de Cuba (2)||Higinio Vélez|
|29||1990||Henequeneros (2)||Gerardo Junco|
|30||1991||Henequeneros (3)||Gerardo Junco|
|31||1992||Industriales (7)||Jorge Trigoura|
|32||1993||Villa Clara (5)||Pedro Jova|
|33||1994||Villa Clara (6)||Pedro Jova|
|34||1995||Villa Clara (7)||Pedro Jova|
|35||1996||Industriales (8)||Pedro Medina|
|36||1997||Pinar del Río||Jorge Fuentes|
|37||1998||Pinar del Río (2)||Alfonso Urquiola|
|38||1999||Santiago de Cuba (3)||Higinio Vélez|
|39||2000||Santiago de Cuba (4)||Higinio Vélez|
|40||2001||Santiago de Cuba (5)||Higinio Vélez|
|42||2003||Industriales (9)||Rey Vicente Anglada|
|43||2004||Industriales (10)||Rey Vicente Anglada|
|44||2005||Santiago de Cuba (6)||Antonio Pacheco|
|45||2006||Industriales (11)||Rey Vicente Anglada|
|46||2007||Santiago de Cuba (7)||Antonio Pacheco|
|47||2008||Santiago de Cuba (8)||Antonio Pacheco|
|48||2009||La Habana||Esteban Lombillo|
|49||2010||Industriales (12)||Germán Mesa|
|50||2011||Pinar del Río (3)||Alfonso Urquiola|
|51||2012||Ciego de Ávila||Roger Machado|
|52||2013||Villa Clara (8)||Ramón Moré|
|53||2014||Pinar del Río (4)||Alfonso Urquiola|
|54||2015||Ciego de Ávila (2)||Roger Machado|
|55||2016||Ciego de Ávila (3)||Roger Machado|
|57||2018||Granma (2)||Carlos Martí|
|58||2019||Las Tunas||Pablo Civil|
|59||2020||Matanzas||Armando Ferrer Ruiz|
|60||2021||Granma (3)||Carlos Martí|
|62||2023||Las Tunas (2)|
See also Edit
- Anderson, Dave (March 28, 1982). "Cuba Faces Own Baseball Scandal". St. Louis Post-Dispatch. The New York Times. p. 3F. Retrieved September 2, 2023 – via newspapers.com.
- Augustin, Ed (January 2, 2019). "Can Cuban baseball still be great when many of its stars have left?". The Telegraph. Macon, Georgia. The New York Times. p. B9. Retrieved August 28, 2023 – via newspapers.com.
- "Las 40 primeras Series Nacionales". Granma (in Spanish). Archived from the original on December 27, 2014. Retrieved 2014-12-27.
- Goodsell, James Nelson (December 12, 1976). "Cuba's citizens to have a say". The Columbian. Vancouver, Washington. The Christian Science Monitor. p. 47. Retrieved September 2, 2023 – via newspapers.com.
- "Artemisa". Cuban National Series Official Website (in Spanish). Retrieved 18 April 2021.
- "Camagüey". Cuban National Series Official Website (in Spanish). Retrieved 18 April 2021.
- "Ciego de Ávila". Cuban National Series Official Website (in Spanish). Retrieved 18 April 2021.
- "Cienfuegos". Cuban National Series Official Website (in Spanish). Retrieved 18 April 2021.
- "Granma". Cuban National Series Official Website (in Spanish). Retrieved 18 April 2021.
- "Guantánamo". Cuban National Series Official Website (in Spanish). Retrieved 18 April 2021.
- "Holguín". Cuban National Series Official Website (in Spanish). Retrieved 18 April 2021.
- "Industriales". Cuban National Series Official Website (in Spanish). Retrieved 18 April 2021.
- "Isla de la Juventud". Cuban National Series Official Website (in Spanish). Retrieved 18 April 2021.
- "Las Tunas". Cuban National Series Official Website (in Spanish). Retrieved 18 April 2021.
- "Matanzas". Cuban National Series Official Website (in Spanish). Retrieved 18 April 2021.
- "Mayabeque". Cuban National Series Official Website (in Spanish). Retrieved 18 April 2021.
- "Pinar del Río". Cuban National Series Official Website (in Spanish). Retrieved 18 April 2021.
- "Sancti Spíritus". Cuban National Series Official Website (in Spanish). Retrieved 18 April 2021.
- "Sancti Spíritus". Cuban National Series Official Website (in Spanish). Retrieved 18 April 2021.
- "Villa Clara". Cuban National Series Official Website (in Spanish). Retrieved 18 April 2021.
- Reglamento (LXII Serie Nacional) (PDF) (in Spanish). La Comisión Nacional de Béisbol. 2023. pp. 3–4. Retrieved August 31, 2023 – via beisbolcubano.cu.
Further reading Edit
- Connor, Joe, Welcome to Cuba. ESPN.com, January 17, 2006. Retrieved December 16, 2009.