Much of baseball’s spread in the Caribbean was at least partially because of the United States’ increased presence in the region after the Spanish-American War. And that war, at least officially, was started because of the destruction of the USS Maine. While it was later found that it was unlikely that the Maine had been destroyed due to sabotage, the destruction of the ship started a rallying cry amongst the American populace that helped lead to the war.
But, before that, the Maine was the defending champion of the Navy when it came to baseball. Here’s a photo from the Library of Congress Flickr stream of that final team- most of the players died in the ship’s destruction. Notice how it was an integrated team.