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  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

Historic San Juan baseball rivalry to be revived as Senators return

Capital city will host 2029 Caribbean Series; 2024-25 winter league season to begin Nov. 8

National Baseball Hall of Famer Roberto Alomar (LBPRC)

By The Star Staff

The San Juan Senators franchise will make its return this 2024-25 winter league season under the leadership of National Baseball Hall of Famer Roberto Alomar with a unanimous vote by the Roberto Clemente Professional Baseball League (LBPRC by its Spanish initials) board of directors.

The return of the Senators (Senadores) will mark the return of the historic “City Champ” rivalry with the Santurce Crabbers (Cangrejeros) with the two emblematic franchises playing at Hiram Bithorn Stadium in Hato Rey.

“With the return of the San Juan Senators, one of the strategic goals established by the board of directors and the demand of the loyal Senators fans has been fulfilled,” LBPRC President Juan A. Flores Galarza said earlier this week. “The ‘City Champ’ [tradition] will be revived for everyone’s benefit. I want to thank HOF Roberto Alomar for making this dream possible.”

Worldwide, the Senators franchise is one of the most recognized in the sport of baseball, distinguished by the game in 1993 when it was the first professional team made up of Major League players to play against the Cuban team. San Juan won on a ninth-inning walk-off home run by Javier López.

The Senators won eight island championship titles and a championship in the 1995 Caribbean Series, when the team ran the table with a roster that was called the “Dream Team.” That team included Alomar, fellow Hall of Famer Edgar Martínez, Juan “Igor” González, Bernie Williams, Rubén Sierra, Carlos Baerga, Carlos Delgado, Carmelo Martínez and Rey Sánchez.

The first meetings between the Senators and the Crabbers were a doubleheader at the Sixto Escobar Stadium on Oct. 22, 1939. San Juan won the first game with Raymond Brown on the mound, while the second was won by Santurce thanks to pitcher Billy Byrd.

The last time the “City Champ” was played was in the 1999-2000 season, with Santurce getting the win.

Venue exchange approved for the 2026 Caribbean Series

Separately, the LBPRC board of directors unanimously approved a venue exchange agreement with the Venezuelan Professional Baseball League (LVBP) whereby the venue for the 2026 Caribbean Series (SDC) originally assigned to the LBPRC will be held in Gran Caracas, Venezuela, and the venue for the 2029 Caribbean Series assigned to the LVBP will be held in San Juan.

The venue exchange was pursued due to the logistical and economic challenges of holding two events of the magnitude of the 2026 World Baseball Classic (March 2026) and the 2026 SDC (February 2026) with just one month between them.

2024-25 season start date

Play ball! Nov. 8

This season the winter league will take to the field on Friday, Nov. 8 at Yldefonso Solá Morales Stadium in Caguas in what is called national inauguration. That night there will be a single scheduled game, in which the defending champion Caguas Criollos will host last season’s runners-up the Carolina Giants (Gigantes).

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