The Dominican Republic, the largest source of major league talent outside the United States, has a presence in professional baseball unrivaled by any other Latin American country. Baseball's roots in the Dominican trace back to the late 19th century when Cuban immigrants introduced the sport to the city of San Pedro de Macorís, which later became known as “The Cradle of Shortstops.’’ From there, the sport quickly became a source of pride and a beacon of opportunity for athletes throughout the island.
Home to three Hall of Famers -- Juan Marichal, Pedro Martinez and Vladimir Guerrero -- the Dominican Republic has produced scores of All-Stars, award winners and long-term contributors to the game. From Sammy Sosa to David Ortiz through today’s young superstars, Fernando Tatís Jr. and Juan Soto, there is no end in sight for the Dominican pipeline of ballplayers.
With more than 100 Dominican natives cracking 2020 Opening Day major league rosters, the Dominican Republic remains a force on playing fields and clubhouses throughout the game.
Shortstop Fernando Tatís Jr., also known as “El Niño,” has taken on Major League Baseball in a big way.
Born in San Pedro de Macorís, Tatís Jr. was introduced to baseball at an early age. As the son of Fernando Tatís, an 11-year major leaguer, he was a focus of attention as a youngster. In 2015, as an international free agent, he signed with the Chicago White Sox with hopes of one day making it to the show. A year later, before even playing in a professional game, the 17-year old Tatís was traded to the San Diego Padres.
Debuting last season, Tatís Jr. impressed from the start. In 84 games, he finished the season with 22 home runs, 53 RBIs and a .317 batting average. In 2020, he continues to be one of the most dynamic players on the diamond. With MVP-caliber numbers and an undeniable flair, he’s enjoying a breakout season in San Diego.