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Serie Nacional Contest Features Former Major Leaguers For First Time in League’s History

 Conor Liguori  |    Mar 13th, 2024 6:07pm EDT

Tuesday’s Serie Nacional de Beisbol game between the Industriales and the Vegueros de Pinar del Rio may have seemed like a regular contest, but there was historical significance.

According to The Cuban Baseball Digest on X, Yasmany Tomas of the Industriales and Alexei Ramirez of the Vegueros de Pinar del Rio became the first former Major League Baseball players to play against one another in Serie Nacional de Beisbol history. The Vegueros de Pinar del Rio won the game 6-2 over the Industriales.


Yasmany Tomas, born in Havana, Cuba, played four MLB seasons with the Arizona Diamondbacks as an outfielder and third baseman from 2015-19. He returned to the Diamondbacks big league club for four games during the 2019 season and spent the entire 2018 minor league baseball season with Triple-A Reno.

He played the first five seasons of his professional baseball career with the Industriales from 2008-14, hitting 15-plus home runs in back-to-back seasons as a 20-year-old and 21-year-old during the 2011-12 and 2012-13 SNB seasons.

On Nov. 16, 2014, Tomas signed a six-year, $68.5 million contract with the D-Backs. The contract could have worked better for both parties. Tomas was optioned to Triple-A

Reno multiple times and was out of Arizona’s organization in October 2020, appearing in just 309 MLB games for the club.

Shortstop Alexei Ramirez enjoyed more success than Tomas in MLB, playing nine seasons with the Chicago White Sox, Tampa Bay Rays, and San Diego Padres from 2008-16. Ramirez, now 42 years old, returned to professional baseball this year with the Vegueros de Pinar del Rio after not appearing in a game since 2018 with the Diablos Rojos del Mexico of Liga Mexicana de Beisbol.

Like Tomas, Ramirez began his professional baseball career in Cuba, playing seven seasons with the Vegueros de Pinar del Rio from 2000-07. His best statistical season with the club was in 2004-05 when he hit 13 home runs with 50 RBI and a .341 batting average.

Ramirez left Cuba following the 2006 World Baseball Classic and played a short five-game stint in Liga de Beisbol Profesional de la República Dominicana with the Leones del Escogido during the 2007-08 winter season. He agreed to a four-year $8 million contract with the Chicago White Sox in December 2007 and posted a .709 OPS with 109 home runs in eight years on the Southside of Chicago.

Although Tomas and Ramirez made history, they are among a handful of other Cuban baseball players who have played Major League Baseball and returned to the Serie Nacional de Béisbol.

According to The Cuban Baseball Digest, additional players who started their professional baseball careers in Cuba and returned to the Serie Nacional after playing in MLB include Roberto Baldoquin, Yadil Mujica, Yadir Drake, Rubi Silva, Dariel Alvarez, Rusney Castillo, Jorge Hernandez, Erisbel Arruebarruena, Roberto Hernandez, Jonathan Cruz, Leslie Anderson, Yoilan Cerce, Yuniesky Betancourt, and Yoenis Cespedes.

Ramirez and the Vegueros de Pinar del Rio will face Tomas and the Industriales in the third game of a five-game set on Thursday, March 14, at 2 p.m. EST at Estadio Latinoamericano in Havana, Cuba, home of the Industriales. The Vegueros de Pinar del Rio will host the following two games from March 16-17 at Estadio Capitan San Luis in Pinar del Rio, Pinar del Rio Province, Cuba.

Serie Nacional de Beisbol fans can livestream select games on the Tele Rebelde or Roberto TV Deportes YouTube pages.