When many think of the Dominican Republic, they instantly think beautiful beaches, scenic views, and incredible food, but ask someone who really knows the people, and they’ll tell you it’s all about baseball! The Dominican team dominated at this year’s World Baseball Classic coming out on top, beating Puerto Rico for the Championship, and anyone traveling through our airports that day can tell you, our Dominican team was certainly sharing in the enthusiasm.
JetBlue has a strong Presence in the Dominican Republic with service to 6 cities and 34 daily flights and many crewmembers with Dominican heritage, so it was a no-brainer to assist when a customer reached out ask for assistance in flying the first base bag used in the 2013 World Baseball Classic!
This piece of history was acquired by baseball memorabilia collector and New Hampshire resident Hugh Baver. Believing that the first base should be put on display for all to enjoy, Baver decided to donate it to the Boston Red Sox, through the Academia Medias Rojas, a baseball camp in the D.R. that’s operated by the Boston Red Sox. To deliver the gift, Baver flew from Portland, Maine to New York, and on to Santa Domingo where our Crewmembers welcomed him — and first base! — with fanfare.
To deliver the gift, one teensy problem popped up: the first base bag was too big at 15 x 15 inches to fit in the overhead, and was too fragile to stow underneath. So, the Red Sox purchased an actual seat for the base.
Baver is a huge Red Sox fan himself and is a former player of the Men’s Adult Baseball League (MSBL). He participated in a 2010 Red Sox fantasy camp in the Dominican Republic, he met former Dominican major leaguers who helped put the D.R. on the world baseball map. Baver understands how important the sport is to the island nation of 10 million people, and donated the first base – signed by Dominican players Bob Costas and David Ortiz – because he understands the importance of baseball to the Dominican community
We’d like to think Hugh for sharing his story with us, and thank you to our local Crewmembers for supporting Baver’s mission!