Panama Professional League

From BR Bullpen

The Panamanian Winter League began in the 1940s and the league champions participated in the Caribbean Series from 1949 through 1960. The Panamanian club won its only title in 1950 behind Chet Brewer.

Panama's league, which never could measure up to the top winter circuits, played the 1961-62 season in a merger with Nicaragua's league. Both nations then went back to playing on their own. Nicaragua pulled the plug on its league after 1967, and Panama limped on for several more years, finally shutting down in 1972 after its number of teams and schedule had steadily diminished.

The circuit was briefly revived in 2001-2002, with the backing of Major League Baseball. Olmedo Saenz nearly won a Triple Crown, edging Carlos Lee for the batting title. Joe Atkins had won a Triple Crown in 1951, as had Hector Lopez in 1954.

The league did not secure funding for the 2002-03 season, and winter ball entered another dormant period in Panama. It was back as of 2011, however; Dodgers farmhand Blake Smith was the MVP. In 2019, the Caribbean Series were moved to Panama at the last moment due to political unrest in Venezuela. For the occasion, a sixth team, representing the Panama Professional League, was added to the tournament. The Toros de Herrera had a veritable Cinderella story, winning the whole tournament, only the second time a team from the country had won the event. That development greatly strengthened Panama's long-standing call to be readmitted in the annual tournament on a permanent basis.

Related Sites[edit]