There are many places on earth which are recognised for something out of the ordinary. Had it not been the birthplace of Jesus Christ, Nazareth would scarcely be recognised today, for example. Every country has one such place – an otherwise unremarkable town which manages to become famous nationwide for its high achievement or other distinguishing factor. For San Pedro de Macorís the claim to fame is that it is the “Cradle of Shortstops”. To put it another way, for a city of its size, San Pedro de Macorís has turned out a disproportionately large number of professional baseball players. At the last count, there have been 73 professional players in the history of Major League Baseball who have hailed from San Pedro de Macoris.
Among the players to move from the city to the major league in the United States are some of the biggest names in the history of baseball. Legendary home run hitter Sammy Sosa is one of the more recent and one of the biggest names. Having become a member of an elite club to hit more than six hundred homers in a career, Sosa joined a club with such luminaries as Babe Ruth, Willie Mays and Hank Aaron, and in addition to this has hit a home run against every active team in the Major Leagues. His fellow San Pedro alumni include Luis Castillo and Pedro Guerrero and the list is likely to grow as time goes on since even the simple aura of the town as a baseball Mecca will attract scouts and potential players to try their luck in the area.
As well as its sluggers, San Pedro de Macorís is also known for its thinkers, especially poets. It has provided the Dominican Republic with a large number of its most influential and best loved poets, including Pedro Mir who for a time held the title of National Poet of the Dominican Republic. This is put down in no small part to a culture of excellence in education that has persisted in the municipality since the last decade of the19th Century. Both in schools and in the press, San Pedro has always been viewed as a place for the brighter, intelligent members of society, with local newspapers proliferating by the turn of the 20th Century.
The name San Pedro de Macorís is often shortened simply to “San Pedro” or equally “Macoris”. Its locals are justly proud of how successful the city has been in producing minds and bodies which have achieved a great deal, but it is also a city that knows how to have fun, being the location for the invention of Guavaberry, a popular wine-like drink that is often drunk during the Christmas period, and in general among social drinkers who like to mix it with the rum for which the entire region is justly recognised. The drink is made from the arajian fruit, is not widely available outside the region and is therefore certainly worth trying if you visit the area.