The Dominican Republic has a rich tradition of baseball. This tiny Hispanic country of 10.8 million people has produced some of the best baseball players of all time. Here are the top 10 baseball players to have come out of the DR.
10. Edwin Encarnacion (DH, 1B) – Edwin Encarnacion is still among the most powerful hitters in the game, as showcased this season with the Seattle Mariners and New York Yankees. El loro, aka the parrot, his trademarked homerun trot has been seen over 400 times in his career.
9. Bartolo Colon (Pitcher) – Bartolo Colon’s career seemingly never ended. He pitched for over two decades, converting himself from a power pitcher to a finesse pitcher as he aged. His career caught a second and third wind. Big Sexy has 247 wins all time and played for 11 different MLB ball clubs.
8. Robinson Cano (2B) – Robinson Cano won the 2009 World Series as a member of the New York Yankees where he played during his peak years. A smooth and effortless player, he made the game look easy and that has enabled him to have a 15+ year career in the majors. Now a member of the New York Mets, Robby is one of baseball’s best second basemen ever with over 2,500 career hits and over 300 career home runs. He also won the Home Run Derby.
7. Adrian Beltre (3B) – Adrian Beltre was a better fielder than a hitter, though he had over 3,000 career hits and was just 23 home runs shy of 500 in his career. That’s how good his defense was. He was a staple in the majors for 21 seasons and will be a hall of famer as soon as he is eligible. His best seasons were with the Texas Rangers and the Seattle Mariners.
6. Manny Ramirez (OF) – Wild, unorthodox, unpredictable, but perhaps one of the best pure hitters the game has ever seen. Manny Ramirez, aka ManRam, boasts a career .314 average with over 550 home runs, produced over 1800 RBI’s and he was a doubles machine. He was considered a liability in left field, but still won multiple World Series with the Boston Red Sox after big time seasons in Cleveland.
5. Vladimir Guerrero (OF) – Considered a five-tool wonder early in his career, Vladimir Guerrero was one of the most feared power hitters in the game due to his ferocious swing. He is one of only 3 Dominican born players in the hall of fame, having had multiple 40/40 seasons. He has a career average of over .300. Unfortunately never won a World Series.
4. Sammy Sosa (OF) – Slammin’ Sammy Sosa is among the top power hitters the game has ever seen. He is one of nine players in MLB history to hit 600 career home runs and is the only player to hit 60 or more home runs in a season three times. In 1998, Sosa and Mark McGwire achieved national fame for their home run-hitting prowess in pursuit of Roger Maris’ home run record which they both broke. Performance-enhancing drug accusations will probably keep him out of the Hall of Fame.
3. David “Big Papi” Ortiz (DH) – The best DH of all time – hands down. David “Big Papi” Ortiz had a big bat and an even bigger personality. Papi won 3 World Series with the Boston Red Sox and is a legend in the city of Boston. He has over 500 home runs in his career and played for over two decades. He will be a first ballot Hall of Famer.
2. Pedro Martinez (Pitcher) – One of the most devastating change-ups in baseball history paired with his 95+ MPH fastball created a virtually unhittable pitcher. Pedro won 3 Cy Young awards and a World Series with the Boston Red Sox in 2004. He was a first ballot Hall of Famer in 2015 with a career earned run average of under 3.00. He was of the best pitching minds on planet earth.
1. Albert Pujols (1B, DH) – The greatest Dominican-born player of all time is also one of the greatest hitters the game has ever seen. Albert Pujols recently became the third player since 1920 with 2,000 career RBIs, joining Hank Aaron and Alex Rodriguez as the only players to reach the milestone. He won two World Series, 3 MVP’s and will finish his career with over 660 home runs. He ranks 6th on the all time home run list with 654, only 6 behind Willy Mays for 5th all time.