The Dominican Connection: Talent from the Tropics Changes Face of National Pastime

Juan Marichal, Sammy Sosa, Felipe Alou, Pedro Martinez. Until 1956, no Dominican had ever played major league baseball. Since then, over 400 players have done so, an astonishing number for such a small country. At the start of the 2008 season, there were 98 Dominican players, accounting for about 11 percent of all major leaguers, far more than any other foreign nationality.

Retired Associated Press (AP) writer George Gedda wanted to know what fuels such a remarkable statistic and how these players, almost all poor, can end up competing on baseball’s toughest playing fields. The love of the game and the dream of a better life propels them, he says.

About the Author

George Gedda spent 38 years as a State Department correspondent for The Associated Press, traveling to 88 countries in the company of secretaries of state. He has been to Cuba 30 times and has written scores of magazine articles. Shortly after his retirement from the AP in May 2007, Gedda spent six months in the Dominican Republic researching The Dominican Connection. A lifelong baseball fan, he began rooting for the Brooklyn Dodgers at age 6.