Updated May 5, 2018
The final series for Panama’s Baseball Championship is on.
The first one to take place in David’s brand spanking new stadium. (more on that below)
Panama’s 75th National Baseball Championship.
Its happening April 27-29, 2018
Sadly, our team Chiriqui Occidental (of Puerto Armuelles) didn’t make into the final series, but Chiriqui (of David) did.
Chiriqui is battling it out with Bocas Del Toro. The team who wins 4 out of 7 games is crowned champion.
After 4 games it was 2 and 2! But in the end, Chiriqui lost the championship to Bocas del Toro.
Chiriqui Province’s Love Of Baseball
Chiriqui really wants to win this championship. They were the champions in 2016.
Then Colon beat Chiriqui to win last year’s championship. But I must say Colon deserved the win. It was the first time in 54 years that Colon won the championship.
Regardless, Chiriqui wanted the title of champion back in 2018.
Chiricanos (people from Chiriqui) are very proud of their province. And they have many reasons to be proud. One being baseball.
Chiricanos are very very good at baseball. You won’t make any friends rooting for a rival team.
Carlos Ruiz – Major Leaguer
In fact, one of David’s prodigal sons, Carlos Ruiz, played in these 75th Championship games. Ruiz is a catcher in US Major League Baseball. He started with the Phillies, then went to play for the Dodgers, then the Mariners, and is now a free agent.
Ruiz is the only player in the history of the National League to catch four no-hitters, and 1 of only 2 catchers in Major League Baseball, the other being Jason Varitek. (source: Wikipedia).
Panama Baseball Leagues & Teams
Baseball in Panama has two leagues, Juvenile League and the Panamanian Major League (AKA Panama Baseball League).
Each of Panama’s 10 provinces has its own Juvenile and Major League baseball teams. However, Chiriqui is so good at baseball it can field 2 teams: Chiriqui Occidental (Puerto Armuelles) and Chiriqui Oeste (David).
Not even the Panama province has 2 baseball teams and it is hands down the most populous province in the country. (FYI- The province of Panama’s team is called Panama Metro.)
In the Major League, the Panama Metro team wins many championships, Herrera is often a contender, and Chirqui continues to hold its own.
The 11 teams are: Bocas de Toro, Chiriqui, Chiriqui Occidente, Colon, Cocle, Darién, Herrera, Los Santos, Panama Metro, Panama West, and Veraguas.
Well, actually, 22 teams if you count both the Juvenile and Major league teams. And they both should be counted. Panama takes its juvenile league very seriously.
TIP: One quick way to start a friendship with a local Chiricano is to ask about their baseball team.
- Rpctv.com gives the schedule for baseball games and other sports. Click here for schedules.
- Tvmax also provides game schedules
- Fedebeis is the place for Panama baseball info & game schedules. Click to visit.
Some Panama Baseball History & Facts
As it turns out, baseball was not introduced to Panama by the Americans who came to build the canal. It started well before then. Baseball has been played in Panama as far back as 1883 when Panama was still a province of Colombia.
On Jan. 9, 1883, Panama’s Daily Star and Herald described a baseball game played in Chiriqui Plaza 2 days before. It was between a team from Chiriqui Province and members of the Panama Cricket and Baseball Club. (See Chiricanos have had a very long love affair with baseball). The Cricket and Baseball Club won. That team was mostly made up of West Indian workers brought in during the failed French-managed canal construction.
However, Panama’s baseball history may go back even further. Back to a time before Amerca had even standardized rules for baseball. In his book, Historia del Béisbol Panameño, the Panamanian historian Ramon G. Pérez Medina writes that the 1st baseball game was played in Panama in the mid-1850s. One team was made up of American traders and the other team was men affiliated with the Panama Railroad Company.
In 1945, the Panamanian Major League was created. As I mentioned, the league has 11 teams: Bocas del Toro, Chiriqui, Chiriqui Occidente, Colon, Cocle, Darién, Herrera, Los Santos, Panama Metro, Panama West, and Veraguas
The first Panamanian to join an American Major League Baseball team was pitcher Humberto Robinson, who debuted with the Milwaukee Braves on April 20, 1955. Including the 4 major leaguers who were born in the Canal Zone, Panama has sent more than 50 players to the U.S. majors. That total includes recent players: Ruben Tejada, Christian Betancourt, Randall Delgado, and Carlos Ruiz.
Find out about the 10 Best Panamanian Players in MLB History, here.
Kenny Serracin Stadium
The Kenny Serracin Stadium in David, Panama is brand new.
It had its first game on March 23, 2018. And Chiriqui won!
(David is the capital of the Chiriqui Province)
Chiriqui was playing against one of their top rivals Herrera. Huge celebrations ensued!
The stadium has seats for 8500 fans. The old stadium only accommodated 2000 people.
It is all tricked out with lights and modern boxes. It was built to comply with the requirements of a Major League stadium in the States.
Where is it?
It is easy to find. It is pretty big.
It is by the intersection of the Interamericana and the overpass of the new road to Boquete. Another way to think about it, is that it is close to the Super Baru, the supermarket. Or better yet, punch the address into WAZE.
Calle P Norte (e / Av. Obaldía and Vía Belisario Porras)
About Kenny Serracin – the Man
Kenny Serracin is from Puerto Armuelles! (which is where we live in Panama). That is where he learned to play baseball. He also worked picking bananas in the banana plantations near Puerto Armuelles. Mr. Serracin later moved to David, where taught PE at a school in Doleguita. He then worked as the administrator and sports director of the original baseball stadium.
All the while he continued to play baseball. He was playing for Chiriqui when it won its first championship in 1944.
He was a man who worked for the love of the game.
In the 1970s, after he stopped playing ball, Mr. Serracin worked with the Lions Club to form little leagues teams and he helped to reorganize baseball throughout the province.