The Baseball World Cup was discontinued in favor of an expanded World Baseball Classic tournament. The IBAF will sanction two brand new tournaments: the 21 and Under World Cup in 2014 and a senior tournament involving the best 12 teams of the world called the WBSC Premier12 in 2015.
There have been 38 Baseball World Cups to date and the last World Cup was held in 2011 in Panama. The first tournament, held in 1938, featured only two teams, but the last tournament included 22 participants; the previous two featured 16 and 18 teams (in 2007 and 2005, respectively). The World Cup was originally called the Amateur World Series, until the tournament in 1988. Until 1988, the Amateur World Series was held in intervals of one to four years, except for the eight-year period from 1953–61. From 1988 to 2001, the Baseball World Cup was held in intervals of two to four years. After 2001, the tournament was held every two years.
Until 1998 the competition was limited to amateur players. After 1998, professional minor league players competed, but Major League Baseball has not allowed its players to participate. In the months leading up to the high-profile first World Baseball Classic in 2006, many commentators heralded it as a "Baseball World Cup", perhaps not realizing that a tournament of that description already existed and had for almost seventy years. However, the 2006 World Baseball Classic was the first international baseball tournament to include players from the major leagues, making it a closer equivalent to the other world cups—which include players from the most prestigious professional leagues—than the Baseball World Cup.