Dec. 29: On this day in 1878, the Cuban League was born

An eight-run eighth inning propelled Habana to a 21-20 victory against Almendares in the first game in Cuban League history.

Habana would go undefeated that season, 4-0-1, beating Almendares and Matanzas for the pennant in a season that lasted from Dec. 29, 1878 to Feb. 16, 1879 with Leopoldo de Sola serving as president of the league.

Habana was led by Cuban baseball luminaries such as Esteban Bellan, the first Cuban to play in the majors with the Troy Haymakers of the National Association; and Emilo Sabourin (right), one of the league’s founders who fought for Cuba’s independence from Spain and died in prison in 1896.

This inaugural season saw an all-time league record for most runs scored in a game (60) when Habana beat Matanza 34-26 on Jan. 26, 1879, according to Cuban Baseball: A Statistical History, 1878-1961.

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