With Major League Baseball nearing the end of another regular season and the playoffs looming, the eventual winning team is often crowned with the title of “world champions,” but if it’s only U.S. teams, how are the victors considered such?
Let’s look at the 2018 World Series that saw the Boston Red Sox face off against the Los Angeles Dodgers. According to the team rosters, which can be found on MLB.com, both teams had a combined 14 players who were born outside of United States. Six of them were on the Red Sox roster, while the Dodgers had eight people from other countries on their roster.
Nine non-U.S. countries represented
The players on the Red Sox were Eduardo Rodriguez and Sandy Leon from Venezuela, Christen Vasquez from Puerto Rico, Xander Bogaerts from Aruba and the Dominican Republic natives Rafael Devers and Eduardo Nunez.
The Dodgers roster also had a player from the Dominican Republic in Pedro Baez, as well as another Puerto Rican — Enrique Hernandez — who goes by Kike. Other players on the team that were from outside of the United States included Kenley Jensen from Curacao, Kenta Maeda and Hyun-Jin Ryu from Japan and South Korea respectively, Julio Urias from Mexico and Yasmani Grandal and Yasiel Puig who were from Cuba.
In total, nine different countries, outside of the United States, were represented during the 2018 World Series, and as of game one of the World Series, 10 of the 14 players saw time on the field.
One of those 14 had a major impact on the game: Eduardo Nunez helped propel Boston to the series opener victory with a three-run, two-out home run in his only at-bat of the game. Other stats for Game One can be found on Foxsports.com.
Major League Baseball as a whole
According to Steve Keating from Reuters, there were players from 21 different countries on the opening roster for the 2018 baseball season. Keating also stated that season was the first time that players from South Africa and Lithuania made the opening roster for a Major League Baseball team.
MLB has integrated 21 different countries into their organization over the years, with many teams having more than one player from outside the United States. With so many players from different countries, the league has become a melting pot of cultures whose players take pride in representing their country.
So, when referring to the winners of the World Series as “world champions,” they are worthy of the title.