The first World Baseball Cup was held in 1953. Since the MLB put it together, they decided on two cathedrals of baseball, Yankee Stadium and the Polo Grounds. The MLB filled up 8 teams from 8 different countries. This tournament is the only one in history that didn't have any form of qualifying. This tournament wasn't promoted very well, and the teams played in front of half emptied stadiums. The tournament was also the coldest on record. Being played the first month of March, many players were glad to go to spring training in Florida.
Everyone expected the USA to win the whole thing, and they breezed through the group stages. Japan was the favorite to advance out of Group B. A Puerto Rican team lead by a young kid named Roberto Clemente helped Puerto Rico advance. Cuba was the biggest surprise of the tournament, going 2-1 in the group stages, and knocking out Japan in the semi-finals. Jackie Robinson had the game winning run in front of the Yankee Stadium crowd, scoring the first title for the Americans