World Baseball Classic

World Baseball Classic
Upcoming season or competition:
Current sports event 2026 World Baseball Classic
Founded2005 (2005)
First season2006
No. of teams24 in Tournament
16 in Qualification
CountryWBSC member
Most recent
 Japan (2023)
Most titles Japan (3 titles)

The World Baseball Classic (abbreviated as WBC, or sometimes, The Classic[1]) is an international baseball tournament, sanctioned from 2006 to 2013 by the International Baseball Federation (IBAF) and after 2013 by World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) in partnership with Major League Baseball (MLB) and the Major League Baseball Players Association (MLBPA) through the World Baseball Classic Inc. The winning team is awarded the World Baseball Classic Championship Trophy.[2][3] After 2023 World Baseball Classic, this tournament has become the most popular baseball competition in the world, overtaking the World Series.

It was proposed to the IBAF and other professional baseball leagues and their players associations around the world by Major League Baseball (MLB) and the Major League Baseball Players Association (MLBPA). It is one of the two main senior baseball tournaments sanctioned by the WBSC, alongside the Premier 12 but the Classic is the only one which grants to the winner the title of "World Champion".[4][5]

It previously coexisted with Olympic baseball (until 2008) and the Baseball World Cup (until 2011) as IBAF-sanctioned tournaments.[6] The final men's Baseball World Cup was held in 2011, and it was discontinued in 2013, after an MLB suggestion to reorganize the international baseball calendar; WBSC accepted the suggestion after an executive meeting, giving the "World Champion" title to the WBC winner, on the condition that the Classic should have direct qualifications and follow international anti-doping rules.[7] It was first held in 2006 as an invitational event to which 16 countries were invited.

The tournament is the first of its kind to have national teams featuring professional players from the major leagues around the world, including Major League Baseball. 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.

After a three-year gap between the first two installments of the tournament, plans were made for the World Baseball Classic to be repeated every four years following the 2009 event. The third installment of the Classic was held in 2013, and the fourth was held in 2017. The World Baseball Classic was held five times from 2006 to 2023, with Japan, the Dominican Republic, and the United States winning the championship. Japan, as of the 2023 tournament, is the only team to win the tournament multiple times.

  1. ^ Baseball Zen: The Classic! See the World Baseball Classic through a Baseball Zen lens
  2. ^ "Japan 2023 World Baseball Classic Championship Trophy Pano Framed LE #1". Retrieved April 18, 2023.
  3. ^ Suvanto, Lyndon. "World Baseball Classic Trophy unveiled, how does it compare to past designs?". Retrieved April 18, 2023.
  4. ^ "IBAF introduces new Format of International Tournaments". International Baseball Federation. Archived from the original on July 25, 2015. Retrieved October 4, 2014.
  5. ^ "Japan win World Baseball Classic to add to Premier12 and Olympic titles". World Baseball Softball Confederation. Japan never won a Baseball World Cup, thus celebrates a historic first as the Baseball World Champions. Retrieved April 19, 2023.
  6. ^ "IBAF World Ranking Notes" (PDF). International Baseball Federation. January 13, 2009. Archived from the original (PDF) on May 9, 2019. Retrieved June 23, 2009.
  7. ^ "Premier12 2019 Official Program – Page 6" (PDF). WBSC. Archived from the original (PDF) on November 27, 2019. Retrieved November 26, 2019.