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Liga Venezolana de Béisbol Profesional logo

The Venezuelan League, in Spanish Liga Venezolana de Béisbol Profesional (LVBP), is a winter league based in Venezuela. The league's champion represents the nation in the Caribbean Series, which it has won seven times (1970, 1979, 1982, 1984, 1989, 2006, 2009). The league was founded in late 1945, played its first season in 1946 before moving to a fall schedule later that year. The LVBP currently has eight teams. The teams play a first league round of 63 games from October to December and the best 5 teams play a second league phase of 16 games in Round-Robin format in January. The best 2 teams from the Round-Robin then face each other in a best of 7 Final to determine the league's champion.

Contents

[edit] History

[edit] League Founding

On December 27, 1945 the Liga Venezolana de Béisbol Profesional was founded by Martin Tovar Lange, Don Carlos Lavaud, Juan Rafael Regetti, and Juan Antonio Yánez. The four founding teams were Cervecería Caracas, Navegantes del Magallanes, Vargas and Venezuela.

The first season began on January 12, 1946. At first, all games were played on Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays at Estadio Cerveza Caracas in San Agustín, Caracas during the day. After Cerveza Caracas (Caracas Brewery) provided the stadium with lighting, games were added on Tuesday nights. Vargas, managed by Daniel Canónico,won the first championship with 18 wins and 12 loses. The league's second season took place across two calendar years, which the league has continued to do since the 1946-1947 season.

The first Caribbean Series featured the league's 1948/1949 season champion, Caracas. On July 16, 1952 Cerveza Caracas sold its team to Pablo Morales and Oscar Prieto Ortiz who renamed it to the Leones del Caracas. During the same year, Estadio Universitario was built.

[edit] League Growth

The 1953/1954 season saw the replacement of two teams, Vargas and Venezuela, which had both left the LVBP due to economic difficulties. Taking their place were two teams, Gavilanes and Pastora, based in Estado Zulia in the far northwest of the country. The far-flung league would only last for a year. After the season, both Zulia-based teams were dropped. New investors bought back Venezuela and a new team Santa Maria was founded, based in La Guaira. The LVBP began its tenth season, in 1954, with four teams. However, the two Zulia teams formed their own Western league with four teams: Gavilanes, Pastora, Rapiños, and Centauros.

Once again for the 1955/1956 season the LVBP's two teams other than Caracas and Magallanes changed. Industriales de Valencia was added to the league and Pampero replaced the Santa Maria and Venezuela franchises. For the 1956/1957 season the Magallanes was renamed Oriente after Joe Novas and Joe Cruz bought the team.

The 1957/1958 season saw the introduction of a post-season series between the two Venezuelan leagues, the Liga Central based around Caracas and the Liga Occidental, based in Zulia. The winner would then be the representative of Venezuela in the Caribbean Series. Up until this season the Venezuelan representative always came from the Liga Central. The first winner of this new playoff format was Industriales which swept Rapiños in four games.

[edit] First Strike

The 1959/1960 Liga Central season was marred by a labor dispute between the Player's Association the team owners. The players had demanded the termination of the recently instituted playoffs system, because the alleging that the players on the eliminated teams were not paid during the semi-finals. The league decided to eliminate playoffs.

In mid-December, Alejandro Carrasquel, manager of Pampero, struck Eduardo Moncada, journalist and a team director. The league suspended Carrasquel for two years and the Player's Association threatened to go on strike in support of Carrasquel, whose penalty seemed overly harsh.

The dissent escallated when the players refused to participate in the All-Star game on December 24 in Maracaibo. In response, several players were suspended by the League and the rest of the season was was cancelled. Rapiños, winners of Liga Occidental, would represented Venezuela in twelth the Caribbean Series in 1960. This would be the last series featuring Cuba or Panama and would be the last series played until 1970.

[edit] League Expansion

Before the 1962/1963 season Pampero franchise became the Tiburones de La Guaira and Oriente became the Orientales in the following season after being purchased by Alfonso Carrasquel and Humberto B. Lozano. That team became the Navegantes del Magallanes once again for the 1964/1965.

The LVBP expanded by two teams for the 1965/1966 season, the Cardenales de Lara based in Barquisimeto and the Tigres de Aragua based in Maracay. Valencia moved outside of Caracas in the same year, three years later the team moved to Acarigua, Portuguesa becoming the Llaneros de Acarigua. The Llaneros lasted one year before being bought by Luis Rodolfo Machado, who had owned the Centauros. They became the Águilas del Zulia and moved to Maracaibo. During the same season (1969/1970), the Navegantes moved Valencia after being bought by a local ownership group. The newly moved team won the league's championship, and represented Venezuela in the reformed Caribbean Series, and become the first Caribbean champion in ten years.

[edit] Recent Years

The 1973/1974 season was cancelled due to a player's strike.

Before the 1975/1976 season the two Caracas-based teams could not reach an agreement to play in the Central University of Venezuela's Estadio Universitario. The Leones del Caracas and Tiburones de La Guaira merged their rosters to form the Llaneros de Portuguesa, nicknamed the Tibuleones. The teams unmerged after the season when they returned to the capital.

In 1991, the LVBP expanded to eight teams with the addition of the Caribes de Oriente and Petroleros de Cabimas. The league also split into two four-team divisions, Oriental (East) and Occidental (West). The top teams from both divisions would play in the semifinals and then the finals to determine the league's champion. The divisional set up was:

Oriental Occidental
Leones del Caracas Tigres de Aragua
Tiburones de La Guaira Petroleros de Cabimas
Navegantes del Magallanes Cardenales de Lara
Caribes de Oriente Águilas del Zulia

The Caribes would change their name to the Caribes de Anzoátegui before the start of the 2005/2006 season. The Petroleros changed their name prior to the 1995/1996 season to the Pastora de Occidente and again before the 2001/2002 to Pastora de los Llanos, then they moved to Margarita Island in 2007/2008 changing their name to Bravos de Margarita. This last move, also marked the supression of the 2 divisions and now all the teams play the same amount of games against each other in the regular season, with the top 5 clubs advancing to the Round-Robin.

[edit] Current Teams

Español English Stadium City
Águilas del Zulia Zulia Eagles Estadio Luis Aparicio el Grande Maracaibo
Bravos de Margarita Margarita Braves Estadio Nueva Esparta Margarita
Cardenales de Lara Lara Cardinals Estadio Antonio Herrera Gutiérrez Barquisimeto
Caribes de Anzoátegui Anzoátegui Caribbeans Estadio Alfonso "Chico" Carrasquel Puerto la Cruz
Leones del Caracas Caracas Lions Estadio Universitario de Caracas Caracas
Navegantes del Magallanes Magallanes Navigators Estadio José Bernardo Pérez Valencia
Tiburones de La Guaira La Guaira Sharks Estadio Universitario de Caracas Caracas
Tigres de Aragua Aragua Tigers Estadio José Pérez Colmenares Maracay

[edit] League Champions

[edit] Championships by Team

[edit] Seasonal Champions

Team won the Serie del Caribe
Season Champion Runnerup Finals Result Champion Manager
1946 Sabios de Vargas Cervecería Caracas - Daniel Canónico
1946/1947 Sabios de Vargas Cervecería Caracas 3-1 Ernesto Aparicio
1947/1948 Cervecería Caracas Sabios de Vargas - José Casanova
1948/1949 Cervecería Caracas Navegantes del Magallanes - José Casanova
1949/1950 Navegantes del Magallanes Cervecería Caracas - Lázaro Salazar
1950/1951 Navegantes del Magallanes Cervecería Caracas - Lázaro Salazar
1951/1952 Cervecería Caracas Navegantes del Magallanes - José Casanova
1952/1953 Leones del Caracas Navegantes del Magallanes - Martín Dihigo
1953/1954 Pastora de Occidente Navegantes del Magallanes - Buster Mills
1954/1955 Navegantes del Magallanes Leones del Caracas - Lázaro Salazar
1955/1956 Industriales de Valencia Pampero - Regino Otero
1956/1957 Leones del Caracas Industriales de Valencia 4-1 Clay Bryant
1957/1958 Industriales de Valencia Rapiños de Occidente - Regino Otero
1958/1959 Industriales de Valencia Rapiños de Occidente - Regino Otero
1959/1960 The league was not completed due to the influx of Cuban players after professional baseball was banned in that country.
1960/1961 Industriales de Valencia Oriente 3-2 Rodolfo Fernández
1961/1962 Leones del Caracas Oriente 4-1 Regino Otero
1962/1963 Industriales de Valencia Leones del Caracas 4-3 Robert Hoffman
1963/1964 Leones del Caracas Industriales de Valencia 4-3 Regino Otero
1964/1965 Tiburones de La Guaira Leones del Caracas 4-1 José Casanova
1965/1966 Tiburones de La Guaira Industriales de Valencia 4-1 Tony Pacheco
1966/1967 Leones del Caracas Tiburones de La Guaira 3-2 Regino Otero
1967/1968 Leones del Caracas Tigres de Aragua - Regino Otero
1968/1969 Tiburones de La Guaira Tigres de Aragua - Wilfredo Calviño
1969/1970 Navegantes del Magallanes Tiburones de La Guaira 3-0 Carlos Pascual
1970/1971 Tiburones de La Guaira Navegantes del Magallanes 4-3 Graciano Ravelo
1971/1972 Tigres de Aragua Tiburones de La Guaira 4-3 Rod Carew
1972/1973 Leones del Caracas Águilas del Zulia 4-1 Osvaldo Virgil
1973/1974 The season cancelled due to a player's strike.
1974/1975 Tigres de Aragua Navegantes del Magallanes 4-2 Osvaldo Virgil
1975/1976 Tigres de Aragua Cardenales de Lara 4-3 Osvaldo Virgil
1976/1977 Navegantes del Magallanes Tiburones de La Guaira 4-2 Don Leppert
1977/1978 Leones del Caracas Águilas del Zulia 4-3 Felipe Alou
1978/1979 Navegantes del Magallanes Águilas del Zulia 4-1 Willie Horton
1979/1980 Leones del Caracas Cardenales de Lara 4-1 Felipe Alou
1980/1981 Leones del Caracas Cardenales de Lara 4-0 Alfonso Carrasquel
1981/1982 Leones del Caracas Cardenales de Lara 4-1 Alfonso Carrasquel
1982/1983 Tiburones de La Guaira Leones del Caracas 4-2 Osvaldo Virgil
1983/1984 Águilas del Zulia Cardenales de Lara 4-1 Rubén Amaro Sr.
1984/1985 Tiburones de La Guaira Tigres de Aragua 4-0 Aurelio Monteagudo
1985/1986 Tiburones de La Guaira Leones del Caracas 4-3 José Martínez
1986/1987 Leones del Caracas Tiburones de La Guaira 4-0 Bill Plummer
1987/1988 Leones del Caracas Tigres de Aragua 4-2 Bill Robinson
1988/1989 Águilas del Zulia Tigres de Aragua 4-3 Pete Mackanin
1989/1990 Leones del Caracas Cardenales de Lara 4-3 Phil Regan
1990/1991 Cardenales de Lara Leones del Caracas 4-2 Alfonso Carrasquel
1991/1992 Águilas del Zulia Tigres de Aragua 4-3 Pompeyo Davalillo
1992/1993 Águilas del Zulia Navegantes del Magallanes 4-0 Pompeyo Davalillo
1993/1994 Navegantes del Magallanes Leones del Caracas 4-3 Tim Tolman
1994/1995 Leones del Caracas Águilas del Zulia 4-2 Pompeyo Davalillo
1995/1996 Navegantes del Magallanes Cardenales de Lara 4-3 Gregorio Machado
1996/1997 Navegantes del Magallanes Leones del Caracas 4-1 John Tamargo
1997/1998 Cardenales de Lara Leones del Caracas 4-3 Omar Malavé
1998/1999 Cardenales de Lara Leones del Caracas 4-3 Omar Malavé
1999/2000 Águilas del Zulia Navegantes del Magallanes 4-1 Marc Bombard
2000/2001 Cardenales de Lara Navegantes del Magallanes 4-2 Nick Leyva
2001/2002 Navegantes del Magallanes Tigres de Aragua 4-1 Phil Regan
2002/2003 The season cancelled on January 14, 2003 due to a national general strike.
2003/2004 Tigres de Aragua Caribes de Anzoátegui 4-2 Buddy Bailey
2004/2005 Tigres de Aragua Leones del Caracas 4-3 Buddy Bailey
2005/2006 Leones del Caracas Tigres de Aragua 4-1 Carlos Subero
2006/2007 Tigres de Aragua Navegantes del Magallanes 4-1 Buddy Bailey
2007/2008 Tigres de Aragua Cardenales de Lara 4-1 Buddy Bailey
2008/2009 Tigres de Aragua Leones del Caracas 4-3 Buddy Bailey
2009/2010 Leones del Caracas Navegantes del Magallanes 4-3 Dave Hudgens
2010/2011 Caribes de Anzoátegui Tigres de Aragua 4-3 Julio Franco
2011/2012 Tigres de Aragua Tiburones de La Guaira 4-2 Buddy Bailey
2012/2013 Navegantes del Magallanes Cardenales de Lara 4-3 Luis Sojo
2013/2014 Navegantes del Magallanes Caribes de Anzoátegui 4-1 Carlos García

[edit] Award Winners

[edit] MVP

[edit] Pitcher of the Year

[edit] Rookie of the Year

[edit] Manager of the Year

[edit] Finals MVP

[edit] Closer of the Year

[edit] Setup Man of the Year

[edit] Comeback Player of the Year

[edit] Famous Players/Managers

[edit] See Also

[edit] Sources

Liga Venezolana de Béisbol Profesional
División Occidental: Tigres de Aragua · Cardenales de Lara · Bravos de Margarita · Águilas del Zulia
División Oriental: Caribes de Anzoátegui · Leones del Caracas · Tiburones de La Guaira · Navegantes del Magallanes

Related Articles: Salón de la Fama
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