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The World Baseball Classic is an international baseball tournament sanctioned by the International Baseball Federation (IBAF) and created by Major League Baseball (MLB), the Major League Baseball Players Association (MLBPA), and other professional baseball leagues and their players associations around the world. Along with the Baseball World Cup, it is one of two active tournaments considered by the IBAF to be a major world championship. (The baseball tournament at the Summer Olympic Games is also considered a major world championship, but baseball is no longer an Olympic sport.) The 2009 Classic, the second edition of the event, was won by Japan for the second tournament in a row.

The tournament is the first of its kind to have national baseball teams feature professional players from the major leagues around the world including Major League Baseball; the Summer Olympics have regularly featured college and minor-league players because the Games conflict with the major league seasons in both North America and Asia, and the Baseball World Cup historically has not had major leaguers participate. In addition to providing a format for the best baseball players in the world to compete against one another while representing their home countries, the World Baseball Classic was created in order to further promote the game around the globe.


Year Final Host Final Semifinalists
Champions Score Runners-Up 3rd Place 4th Place


San Diegomarker


Los Angelesmarker


Championship trophy

See: 2006 World Baseball Classic#Final Standing (photo)

Most Valuable Player

All-WBC Teams

Eligibility rules

A player is eligible to participate on a World Baseball Classic team if:
  • The player is a citizen of the nation the team represents.
  • The player is qualified for citizenship or to hold a passport under the laws of a nation represented by a team, but has not been granted citizenship or been issued a passport, then the player may be made eligible by WBCI upon petition by the player or team.
  • The player is a permanent legal resident of the nation or territory the team represents.
  • The player was born in the nation or territory the team represents.
  • The player has one parent who is, or if deceased was, a citizen of the nation the team represents. (This is how Alex Rodriguez played for the Dominican Republic, even though he was born in the United States.)
  • The player has one parent who was born in the nation or territory the team represents.

Rules of play

A pitcher cannot pitch until:
  • a minimum of three days have passed since he last pitched, if he threw 50 or more pitches when he last pitched
  • a minimum of one day has passed since he last pitched, if he threw 30 or more pitches when he last pitched
  • a minimum of one day has passed since any second consecutive day on which the pitcher pitched

A pitcher cannot pitch more than
  • 70 pitches per game in Round One of the tournament
  • 85 pitches per game in Round Two of the tournament
  • 100 pitches per game in the Semifinals and Final of the tournament

A pitcher can still finish a batter's plate appearance even if the limit is reached, but must come out after completing the plate appearance

A game will be a called game if the leading team is ahead by
  • 10 or more runs when the opposing team has batted in at least seven innings
  • 15 or more runs when the opposing team has batted in at least five innings

Mercy rules do not apply during the semi-finals and finals.

The Designated Hitter rule applies for all games.

Established process

The tournament was announced in May . Major League Baseball had been attempting to create such a tournament for at least two years; negotiations with the players' union (MLBPA) and with the team owners had held the plan back. Owners, notably New York Yankees owner George Steinbrenner, had been concerned about their star players being injured in international play before the beginning of spring training, and the professional season. This was a concern for the MLBPA as well, but their primary objection was with drug testing. MLB wanted the stricter Olympic standards in place for the tournament, while the union wanted current MLB standards in place. Eventually, a deal was reached on insurance for player contracts and a fairly tough drug testing standard. MLB teams would not be able to directly block their players from participating.

Similarly, Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB) and its players' association had a disagreement over participation in the tournament. While the owners initially agreed to the invitation, the players' union was concerned about the time of year the tournament was scheduled to take place, as well as their right to be better represented for the tournament. On September 16, 2005, after four months of negotiations, NPB officially notified the IBAF & MLB they had accepted the invitation.

Future plans

As of August , plans call for the World Baseball Classic to be repeated every four years following the 2009 event, with the third installment of the Classic to occur in 2013. Other plans for the 2013 World Baseball Classic include possibly the "expansion of the field to 24 . . . with qualifying rounds as a preface to reach the main competition" (Barry M. Bloom,

See also


  1. World Baseball Classic: About
  2. Schwarz, A. "Baseball World Cup set for '06". retrieved from on February 24, 2007
  3. World Baseball Classic field selected - Expansion weighed for '13 as MLB boasts international growth

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