raysox

World Baseball Cup

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In an alternate reality, a high profile World Cup of baseball happened. Over the years, the best players in the MLB from all over the world competed to bring the true World Series home. Here is the story.


In 1950, Major League Baseball had already been around for almost 50 years. The US was baseball crazy in a post war society. Some of the best players ever played in this era. Halfway across the globe, the Nippon Professional League was being reformed and restarted. In an interview after being announced as league commissioner in 1951, Morita Fukui stated that he thought the new Nippon Professional League was on par with or better than the MLB. New MLB commish Ford Frick replied to the statement with a proposal. An MLB-NPL all-star game between the two leagues. There was a debate over which country would host the series. The American public were scared to send their best players to a country that had been at war with the US as recently as 6 years before. Stars like Ted Williams and Jackie Robinson said that the exhibition would help relations between the two countries, and would be eager to sign up. Through translators, the new commissioners worked together a plan to host a 3 game series in Washington DC in November of 1951. The capitol was warmer this time of year than Tokyo, and that was said to be the deciding factor. The World Series ended with the Yankees beating the Giants in 6 games. Yankees manager Casey Stengel was named the manager of the MLB team, with Joe DiMaggio helping him on the bench. His roster was heavy on the Yankees. The team was almost all Americans, except for White Sox short stop Chico Corrasquel, and outfielder Minnie Minoso (who only played 3 innings in game 3). It was said that the team put together was the best team ever put together. Imagine, there was a debate on whether Ted Williams or Stan Musial would start in Left. The NPL team was consisted of many Yomiuri Giants, fresh off winning the Japan series. MLB stars would go on to sweep the Japanese, asserting dominance for the American League. In the crowd for those 3 games was entrepreneur and business man Lou Taylor. He saw potential in this game. He wrote a letter to Frick explaining that this exhibition may have been bigger than they could’ve imagined. Taylor had been in Brazil in 1950, in time for the World Cup. 15 of the best in the world all in one place competing for international fame and national pride. But the problem was that soccer was foreign to the American. He had the idea of a baseball World Cup on the flight home. The letter he wrote was the framework for a World Cup of baseball. Eight teams could travel to the rotating host city every 4 years to be split up into 2 groups, then compete in a playoff to determine the best team in the world.


Frick invited Taylor to his office to go into detail of the project that December. Taylor said that the Americans and Canadians have the MLB, the Japanese were building up their league, and the Caribbean League had just started several years ago. Baseball was growing, and it would be idiotic to not try and capitalize on the expanding markets. He created 8 hypothetical rosters for the 8 countries he imagined would participate, and set a goal to have the first tournament in 1953. Frick was so excited about the new idea that he hired Taylor and formed the International Baseball Federation, the new governing body of international baseball. Taylor began working on getting everyone on board. Fukui was on board, and got on the horn to the Japanese owners and managers. Taylor took the train up to Montreal, and got the leaders of the International League champion Montreal Royals on board and to start forming a Canadian National Team. But where baseball was expanding the most was in Latin America. Frick and Taylor both went to Panama City to the 1952 Caribbean Series. There, they had set in motion the teams for Puerto Rico, Cuba, and Venezuela. Panama thought that they had other priorities, and declined Taylor’s offer. There were 6 teams signed up, and the tournament was getting some coverage in the US. Some critics claimed that the US would destroy the competition because no one does America’s Pastime better than the Americans. With the news going around the clubhouses at spring training, Bobby Avila of the Cleveland Indians got in contact with Taylor. Avila said if he was given a chance, he could put together a Mexican team. Taylor got the contacts to teams in the Mexican League and got the country on board with the idea of a baseball world cup. The tournament needed another team to be even. In Panama, the Puerto Rican manager had told Taylor to possibly look at the Dominican Republic as another team. But there hadn’t been any Dominican players in the MLB yet, so Taylor had them down as the last resort because they’d be embarrassed. The military dictatorship had a few teams, and signed some Negro League players in 1937. The Dominican League had started playing in 1951, but the sport had grown under dictator rule of Rafael Trujillo. Trujillo said the Dominican Republic would send their 1952 champion to the world cup and win the gold. Taylor agreed and had all 8 teams set for the first inaugural World Baseball Cup.


Meanwhile, Frick had arranged the host of the tournament. The 8 teams would play in New York at the Yankees and Giants stadiums. One group would play at Yankee Stadium, and the other would play at the Polo Grounds. The teams would be randomly drawn several days before the tournament. New York was chosen specifically for their two stadiums. They were picked because it was warmer than Chicago in February. This put the Latin American countries at a disadvantage because of the climate. Before the tournament, the traveling teams would settle in Florida and use the spring training homes of MLB teams a month before they got there. In Florida, they could work down the roster to 25 men, and train for the tournament. With the proximity, every once in a while the teams would scrimmage to see where they were in comparison. The Cuban team played at Plant Field in Tampa, the Mexicans played at Henley Field in Lakeland, and the Japanese brought 25 men to Tinker Field in Orlando. The Americans went to St. Pete’s Al Lang Stadium, home of the Yankees spring training in order to settle in ahead of the 1953 season. After a month of work, and some hard cuts the 8 teams were ready to fly to New York.




I’m going to go tournament by tournament, releasing uniforms and logos for the participating teams. If anyone has time, or interest, I’m looking to adding actual player names to my stories, and some research into some players that could play for their country during their career (ie Bert Blyleven for the Netherlands in the 70s.) I have a list of players, but I would love some help because I will probably miss some players.



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Great project i was right about to do something super similar

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Damn, i was hoping this would be another "contest" for us t enter, but with baseball this time.

anyway, I'm still very excited to see this

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1953.png
The opening ceremonies were held, and Taylor drew the 2 groups. Group A would play at Yankee Stadium. The 4 teams in this group were the host US team, Cuba, Venezuela, and Canada. The 4 teams in Group B playing at the Polo Grounds were Japan, Puerto Rico, Mexico, and the Dominican Republic. There would be 2 games a day, in a double header format. The groups would go on different days, so fans could make it to every game. At the ceremonies, some rules were cleared up, such as a coin toss determining the home team for games not including the host (who would be all-time home). The best 2 records would determine who advances to the playoff round. The tie breaker would be head to head, and then run differential.
The WBC's first game was played between the US and Canada at Yankee Stadiu on a cold New York Day. The US went out and absolutely dominated their group. It was bound to happen with players like Warren Spahm, Jackie Robinson, Stan Musial, and Joe DiMaggio. The other teams were made up of a handfull of Major League players. Japan's roster was made up entirely of NPL players, considered the 2nd best baseball league in the world, and it showed. Japan went out and won their 3 first round games. But the Japanese fans weren't completely sold on the team, due to each one being a squeeker 1 run victory. A player on the Puerto Rican team did turn some heads by Major League scouts. That player was a young 18 year old named Roberto Clemente. Clemente was a big part of the reason Puerto Rico was able to advance to the next round.

In the elimination round, both games were very close, and it came down to the pitchers. The Puerto Ricans held the US to 3 runs, the least they scored so far, but could only score 2. Meanwhile, the Japanese batters couldn't bail out the pitching one last time in a 6-4 loss to Cuba. That set up the final at Yankee Stadium. The Cubans took the US to extra innings in a tight 1-1 battle. Mickey Mantle doubled off the wall in the 11th inning, scoring the runner from 1st, and winning the tournament for the US. This was a great moment, due to Mantle doing it in his home ballpark.
The first World Baseball Cup had its pluses and negatives. The crowds were pretty decent, and a fan base was established. Baseball was on display for the world, and it showed how good the US was compared to other counties. That was a negative, however. Many reporters said the US could’ve played better if the competition was better. The traveling fans commented that the host was too cold. Taylor commented that the stadiums deemed big enough to host games in the US were all in the North. He assured that this wouldn’t be a problem in the future because of the rotating hosts. In an interview after the WBC, Taylor leaked that the 1957 competition would be held in Tokyo.
1953.png
Simple C logo with a maple leaf in the center. The uniform is simple red piping running down the sleeve.
I made a Cuba cursive script on the chest, with the C acting as the cap logo. The uniforms had double piping all over.
I used the current Dominican cap logo because it’s exactly what I wanted. I only put a translated Dominicana script since the full name is so long.
I put the Nippon on the jersey instead of Japan, and worked from there. That’s probably the biggest thing. The cap logo is an N with the sun from the flag in the middle.
The Mexican set are completely clean with no piping. I wanted to emphasize the green since it was unique to the country. The script is a cursive Mexico with the cap logo being the M.
I wanted to make these ones stand out from the other red/blue teams. The sleeves are red, which is the biggest difference. The cap is an interlocking PR in blue, which is similar to the Indians’ current red cap.
I went traditional with these. An Interlocking US logo on the chest and cap. Navy is the main color in these, making the US stand out.
I went with a simple V logo with the stars from the flag over top. I made Venezuela be the only team with pinstripes, which looked good with maroon. The script is a simple cursive script with the stars over top.

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Great work as usual. All of these are amazing. I cannot wait for more.

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Damn, i was hoping this would be another "contest" for us t enter, but with baseball this time.

anyway, I'm still very excited to see this

what do you mean by contest?? I've only been on here for a few months but have never heard of contests??

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Damn, i was hoping this would be another "contest" for us t enter, but with baseball this time.

anyway, I'm still very excited to see this

Haha, I was also a little disappointed to learn that it wasn't a contest too. Of course, it is probably beat to give the boards a little time to recoup before another one, haha.

Onto the concepts themselves. All of these are extremely well thought out and, most importantly, are very clean, fitting the era nicely. I particularly love Japan, Venezuela, and Canada.

A few minor issues for me:

1) For whatever reason, Cuba's feels like it has more of an 80's script. I'm assuming this has something to do with the old Cubs script that looked similar.

2) The US logo feels a little... "Blocky" to me. I almost feel like the S would benefit from added serifs. This is another instance of it looking nice, but feeling slightly off.

Other than these two things, everything looks fantastic. This'll be a fun series to follow

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I like these concepts! I thought too that this was gonna be a contest. I would've liked to have participated, too. Great job, though!

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Great work, but one problem, Shibe Park and Connie Mack Stadium are the same field. It was known as Shibe Park from 1909-1953 and Connie Mack Stadium from 1953-1970.

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Well that's stupid. Stupid for having 2 names, and stupid for me for thinking they were different. I'm gonna redo some things in this now.

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Damn, i was hoping this would be another "contest" for us t enter, but with baseball this time.

anyway, I'm still very excited to see this

what do you mean by contest?? I've only been on here for a few months but have never heard of contests??

he held a contest (still going) for designing soccer teams in Europe, heres the link >> http://boards.sportslogos.net/topic/98578-european-soccer-concept-cup-spain-voting/#entry2231690

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I love the designs for the teams, but a lot of them don't look like something from the 50's. They seem too far ahead of their time.

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Damn, i was hoping this would be another "contest" for us t enter, but with baseball this time.

anyway, I'm still very excited to see this

what do you mean by contest?? I've only been on here for a few months but have never heard of contests??

uh.... have you seen RaySox's other posts??

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Awesome idea, raysox, and like all your threads, this is very well thought out. I love the backstories, and I can't wait to see how this plays out over the years.

As others have mentioned, some of the scripts look a little modern for the fifties, particularly Puerto Rico and Venezuela, but otherwise great work!

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Thanks boys, updates are gonna happen tomorrow. And I agree on the Venezuela and Puerto Rico script.

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Hey guys, I made some updates.

  • Changed the venues to New York cause Philadelphia couldn't work
  • Shortened the dialogue on the actual event post, because I don't want to bore everyone with random player names and weak recaps of games.
  • Venezuela and Puerto Rico have different script logos

So now I'm gonna start working on 1957. Please comment and stuff.

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This is amazing, like everything else you do, Raysox. Can't wait for more.

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