Sport in the Americas and Caribbean and their connection to popular culture and politics: Baseball’s Havana Sugar Kings
Friday, March 23, 2018
The relationship between the United States and Cuba under the current administration is now in limbo after the recent thawing of relations under the Obama administration. Baseball has always been one of the important shared cultural traditions between the the two countries going all the way back to the 19th century. 58 years ago, there was a brief moment in time when a professional baseball team, the Havana Sugar Kings, represented the potential for cultural commonality between the US and Cuba even after Cuba’s revolution in 1959. Ultimately, the Sugar Kings, who won the International League World Series in 1959, became a political pawn between Major League baseball and the Eisenhower administration and Fidel Castro. The demise of the Sugar Kings in Cuba presaged the rapid deterioration of US-Cuban relations that was to continue for more than a half a century. But, hope springs eternal. With some of the best major league players in baseball hailing from Cuba, and a need for Major League Baseball to expand international markets in order to stay competitive with professional basketball and football, one never knows what role baseball holds for potential cooperation between the two countries in the future.
“One more step…and we arrive!”
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