The history of Cuba's Palmar de Junco goes back to 1874.
by Dario Santana
(San Diego, CA, USA)
PALMAR DE JUNCO with the newer VICTORIA PLAYA GIRON stadium in the background
If Canada's Labatt Park, has a history going back to 1877, there is a stadium in the city of Matanzas, Cuba that is even older. That stadium is called PALMAR DE JUNCO, it is still in use today and is widely considered the birthplace of organized baseball in Cuban. BaseballdeCuba.com writes: "The first official match in Cuba took place at Palmar del Junco. It was the first recorded organized game in the country. The historic game was played Dec. 27, 1874, with Matanzas taking on the Habana Baseball Club. According to a report four days later in the El Artista newspaper published in the city of Havana, the representative team of Havana won with 51-9 runs supported by pitching from Ricardo Mora and hitting of catcher Esteban Bellán of the Mutual Club in New York in the champion leagues.
I am a native of Matanzas, Cuba, where I lived until I left for the USA at the age of 13 back in 1969. Growing up, I spent A LOT of time at Palmar de Junco, my dad managed 'Versalles' baseball team in Matanzas and I was one of the bat boys. I now live in San Diego, California.