"Baseball was introduced to Cuba in the 1860s by Cuban students returning from colleges in the United States and American sailors who ported in the country. The sport spread quickly across the island nation after its introduction, with student Nemisio Guillo receiving popular credit date for the game's growth in the mid-19th century. Nemisio attended school in Alabama with his brother Ernesto and returned to Cuba with Ernesto in 1864. The two formed a baseball team in Cuba in 1868, the Habana Base Ball Club. The club won a major match against the crew of an American schooner anchored at the Matanzas harbor.

Soon after this, the first Cuban War of Independence against its Spanish rulers spurred Spanish authorities in 1869 to ban playing the sport in Cuba. The reasons were because Cubans began to prefer baseball to viewing bullfights, which Cubans were expected to dutifully attend as homage to their Spanish rulers in an informal cultural mandate. As such, baseball became symbolic of freedom and egalitarianism to the Cuban people. The ban also prompted Esteban Bellán to join the semipro Troy Haymakers. He became the first Latin American player to play in a Major League in the United States. Bellan started playing baseball for the Fordham Rose Hill Baseball Club, while attending Fordham University (1863–1868). After that he played for the Unions of Morrisania, a New York City team. Bellan played for the Haymakers until 1862; in 1861 it joined the National Association.

The first official match in Cuba took place in Pueblo Nuevo, Matanzas, at the Palmar del Junco, December 27, 1874. It was between Club Matanzas and Club Habana, the latter winning 51 to 9, in nine innings."
[Cited: Wikipedia 2013]


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