Baseball’s popularity in Central and South America and the Caribbean
is perhaps centered in Cuba, which has dominated international
baseball play for decades.
The powerhouse Cuban national baseball team in April 2014 ranks
third in the International Baseball Federation rankings (after being
first since the rankings debuted in 2009), having dominated
international competition, including winning 25 Baseball World Cups of
the 38 held from 1938 through 2011.
Cuba has celebrated the island nation’s love for the game with the
issuance of several collector coins, which are illegal to import for
Thus, one of the ironies of the Communist-era Trading With the Enemy
Act, enacted in 1963 when the American policy toward Communist Cuba
was in its infancy, is that the law restricting import of such things
as Cuban cigars also bans its coinage, which has so often featured
But like the seemingly unending string of defectors from Cuba’s
sports teams, Cuban commemorative coinage somehow makes its way to the
United States (a new policy enacted by eBay in 2013 has at least
stopped the coins from being sold on that platform).
Cuban coins honoring baseball include a trio celebrating the 1990
Pan American Games. An Uncirculated copper-nickel peso, Proof .999
fine silver 10-peso piece and a Proof .999 fine gold 50-peso coin were
released by Cuba, all sharing a design emphasizing the duality of the
game; in a unique perspective, the collector sees the one-on-one
battle between the pitcher and batter, with the umpire and catcher in
the scene to highlight the team aspect of the game.