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March 12, 2009 [LINK / comment]

Estadio Hiram Bithorn

Hiram Bithorn Stadium El diagrama del Estadio Hiram Bithorn, sitio del Clásico Mundial de Beisbol 2009, ha sido actualizado. (That last word is Spanish for "updated.") Previously I only had the pre-2004 version, when the dimensions were significantly shorter. To bring it up to Major League standards for the two years that the Montreal Expos played there, they moved the outfield fences back by about 10-20 feet.

In this year's World Baseball Classic, Mexico and Cuba have already qualified for the next round, in Pool 1. The two teams are playing in Hiram Bithorn Stadium right now to determine which one will be seeded higher; Cuba is ahead, 7-4, in the fifth inning. I don't care much for the playoff format in the WBC, as the sixth game is often not necessary, and in the case of Pool A, Japan should have been declared the winner after Game 5, because it had a 2-0 record, compared to Korea's 2-1 record. But because they had to play Game 6, Korea ended up on top, with a 3-1 record, ahead of Japan's 2-1 record. The full bracket/scoreboard is at

So who was Hiram Bithorn? He became the first Major League player from Puerto Rico, pitching for the Chicago Cubs in 1942, 1943 (his best year), and 1946, with three years of service in the U.S. armed forces during World War II. In 1947 he played for the Chicago White Sox, but was taken out after only two innings because of a sore arm, and that turned out to be the end of his MLB career. He later played in the Mexican winter league, and at the end of 1951 he was shot by a Mexican policeman in disputed circumstances. It was a brief, tragic career, but he inspired many other greats from Puerto Rico such as Roberto Clemente, Orlando Cepeda, Bernie Williams, and Carlos Delgado. For a more complete biography, see Sports Illustrated from 2003, when the Expos started playing on the semi-tropical island.

COMMENT by: Ryan Brister, of Rochester, NY on Mar 13, 2009 14:52 PM
Cuba and Mexico were actually playing in Mexico City, at Foro Sol, which is located inside a racetrack. Hiram Bithorn played host to Pool D (PR, DR, Panama and the Netherlands).

COMMENT by: Andrew Clem, of Staunton, VA on Mar 18, 2009 20:12 PM

Posted (or last updated or commented upon): 18 Mar 2009, 8: 12 PM

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