Leones del Caracas
|Caracas Base Ball Club (official name)|
|League||Venezuelan Professional Baseball League|
|Year founded||May 7th 1942|
|League championships||1948 (+), 1949 (+),
1952 (+), 1953, 1957, 1962, 1964, 1967, 1968, 1973, 1978, 1980, 1981, 1982, 1987, 1988, 1990, 1995, 2006, 2010
|Caribbean World Series championships||1982, 2006|
Cervecería Caracas was founded in 1942, after Cervecería Caracas, an early team, was bought and transformed into Caracas. At first, the team played its home games at the old Estadio Cerveza Caracas, which was located in the capital city of Caracas. The team was founded by Martín Tovar Lange and managed by big leaguer Alejandro Carrasquel.
The Princesa team played its last game on May 7, 1942. Then, Caracas debuted four days later with a 7–3 victory over the Criollos (English: Creoles). The game was played in Puerto Cabello, a city on the north coast of Venezuela. Caracas faced its later nemesis, the Navegantes del Magallanes for the first time on December 27 of that year, winning this now historic game by a 3–0 score.
In its first stage, the team won two championship titles before moving to the Venezuelan Professional Baseball League in January 1946.
Since its inception, the Caracas team was characterized by having only Venezuelan players on their roster. The club changed its policy in 1950, after signing catcher Lester Fusselman and outfielder Maurice Mozzali, two St. Louis Cardinals prospects.
In 1952, the franchise was bought by the publicist and sport commentator Pablo Morales and christened Leones del Caracas. Since then, the team plays its home games at the Estadio Universitario in Caracas. Later, businessman Oscar Prieto Ortiz joined Morales as a legal partner.
Pete Rose was benched after a slump late in the 1964 MLB season, finishing with a .269 average, but continued to play winter ball in Venezuela with the Leones del Caracas team during the 1964–1965 season to improve his batting.
By 2001, the descendants of Morales and Prieto sold their shares to the Grupo Cisneros, giving it majority control of the team.
Through 2013, the Caracas team has won 20 championship titles (3 as Cervecería Caracas and 17 as Leones del Caracas), more than any other team in Venezuelan Professional Baseball League history.
The Estadio Universitario is a multi-use stadium located in Caracas, Venezuela. The stadium holds 22,690 people and was built in 1952.
This stadium forms part of the Central University of Venezuela campus and was designed by architect Carlos Raúl Villanueva. It is considered a masterpiece of urban planning and was declared a World Heritage Site by the UNESCO in 2000.
- 1947-1948: José A. Casanova (+)
- 1948-1949: José A. Casanova (+)
- 1951-1952: José A. Casanova (+)
- 1952–1953: Martín Dihigo
- 1956–1957: Clay Bryant
- 1961–1962: Regino Otero
- 1963–1964: Regino Otero
- 1966–1967: Regino Otero
- 1967–1968: Regino Otero
- 1972–1973: Oswaldo Virgil
- 1977–1978: Felipe Rojas Alou
- 1979–1980: Felipe Rojas Alou
- 1980–1981: Alfonso (Chico) Carrasquel
- 1981–1982: Alfonso (Chico) Carrasquel
- 1986–1987: Bill Plummer
- 1987–1988: Bill Robinson
- 1989–1990: Phil Regan
- 1994–1995: Pompeyo Davalillo
- 2005–2006: Carlos Subero
- 2009–2010: Dave Hudgens
(+) Won the title as Cervecería Caracas. The team changed owners and name in 1952, but documents made public on October 4, 2011, state that the franchise official name - Caracas Baseball Club - remained constant during all sale transactions in 1949, 1952 and 2001. This has resulted in a change on the historical stats of Leones del Caracas, as reflected in the official page of the league.
Caribbean World Series titles
On February 9, 1982, the Leones earned Venezuela's third Caribbean World Series and the franchise's first, by defeating Dominican Republics's Leones del Escogido with a 3-1 score. The Leones ended the series with a record of 5 wins and 1 defeat. The Venezuelan team, with Alfonso Carrasquel at the helm, gained the championship title with a 5-1 record. Leones was led by catcher and Series MVP Baudilio Díaz (.412 BA, two home runs, five RBI, .500 OBP, .765 SLG), CF Tony Armas (.375, six RBI) and LF Luis Salazar (six runs, four stolen bases). The pitching staff was led by Luis Leal, who posted a 2-0 record with a 2.08 ERA and 10 strikeouts and a in 13.0 innings of work. Behind him were Bud Black (1-0, 1.29), Dennis Burtt (1-0, one save, seven SO in 10⅔ innings) and Tom Dixon (nine scoreless innings in Game 7). Venezuela also featured 2B Steve Sax, SS Ron Gardenhire, 1B Dave Garcia, 3B Leonardo Hernández, pinch-hitter Andrés Galarraga and pitcher Joe Cowley, among others.
On February 7, 2006, the Leones earned Venezuela's first Caribbean World Series title in 16 years, by defeating the Tigres del Licey of the Dominican Republic with a 5-4 score in the last game; this left the Leones with a record of six wins and no defeats at the 2006 Caribbean Series, ahead of Licey's four wins and two defeats record. With the victory, the Leones won Venezuela's sixth Caribbean Series title, and the franchise's second after the 1982 Caribbean Series. This also marked the first time a Venezuelan team sweeps the Caribbean Series, a feat previously accomplished only by teams from Cuba (Almendares in 1949, Habana in 1952, and Cienfuegos in 1960), from Puerto Rico (Cangrejeros de Santurce in 1953 and 2000, and Senadores de San Juan in 1995) and from the Dominican Republic (Tigres del Licey in 1971, 1977 and 1991, and Águilas Cibaeñas in 1998).
Retired uniform numbers
Alfonso "Chico" Carrasquel
* Retired by VPBL
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- 1953 Caribbean Series
- 1957 Caribbean Series
- 1980 Caribbean Series
- 1982 Caribbean Series
- 2006 Caribbean Series