The all-Cuban triple play in baseball

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becquer

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A little baseball history to distract us from the horrific stories coming out of Cuba.

On July 23, 1960, 3 Cubans playing for the Washington Senators made baseball history.   They were involved in the only Cuban to Cuban to Cuban triple play.   I’m sure that it is the only “all latino” triple play too.   I couldn’t find any other example of 3 latinos turning a triple play.

The 3 players were pitcher Pedro Ramos, shortstop Jose Valdivielso and first baseman Julio Becquer.   Whitey Herzog, future manager with the Kansas City Royals and St Louis Cardinals, hit the ball back to Ramos, who went to first and then second.

A little more about the game.   The Senators became the Minnesota Twins in 1961.  The Kansas City A’s moved to Oakland in 1968.

Ramos won 117 games but pitched for very bad teams.   I wrote a post about him earlier when he turned 80.   Becquer had a fine glove but hit only .244 with the Senators and later the Twins.     Valdivielso hit .219 and was primarily a part-time player.

Another Cuban, Camilo Pascual, watched the proceedings from the dugout.

My thanks to Fernando Hernandez, author of “The Cubans” for bringing this to my attention.  By the way, his book is full of stories of Cubans in the US, from Celia Cruz to Desi Arnaz to lots of other less known Cubans who left their footprints.

TWO BROTHERS! ONE DREAM! LIBERTAD!

Livan El Duque

For those of you who have wondered why most Cuban-Americans take such a hardline posture when it comes to Cuba, I encourage you to watch the ESPN video “30 for 30: “Brothers in Exile.” The video recounts the story of brothers Livan and Orlando “El Duque” Hernandez – two Cubans who defected to the United States and gained fame by playing for the Miami Marlins and the New York Yankees. After seeing what they went through to leave the Island in search of freedom — a saga that is mirrored with those of most Cuban-Americans — you’ll understand why this is such a personal issue for us. Restoring democracy to a people who have lived in fear and repression for 55 years of totalitarian, communist rule is a commitment that we have with our dignity and values.

The video is available via Netflix. To view the trailer, click on http://espn.go.com/video/clip?id=11514741

Cuban-American Poet Issues New Book

Richard Blanco 2014

Cuban-American Inaugural Poet Richard Blanco released his new book “Prince of los Cocuyos: A Miami Childhood” today, October 1, 2014. In the past, Babalublog contributor and Yale University Professor Carlos Eire also authored the book “Learning to Die in Miami: Confessions of a Refugee Boy.”

It seems that growing up in Miami leaves indelible imprints in the personality of Cuban-American youngsters who are tasked to navigate between two cultures — one Cuban-American and the other American. This experience triggers many challenges, but it creates many opportunities.

To learn more about Richard’s new book, click on http://www.amazon.com/The-Prince-los-Cocuyos-Childhood/dp/0062313762/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1412177128&sr=8-1&keywords=richard+blanco+cocuyos

 

Cubans Are Fun-Loving People

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The late Cuban-American historian, journalist, and historian Luis Aguilar León authored what many consider the definitive work on describing the personality traits of Cubans. In his “El Profeta Habla de los Cubanos,” Dr. Aguilar León indicates that “los cubanos toman en serio los chistes y hacen de todo lo serio un chiste … Su espíritu es universal e irreverente.” (Cubans make a joke out of anything as their global viewpoint is universal and irreverent).

 
What better way to affirm Dr. Aguilar León’s take on Cubans than by playing a monologue by a Cuban who makes fun of the hardships that Cubans have to put up with on a daily basis in La Habana.

 
See http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d4hTYNmQOYk

It’s a good thing that more and more Cuban ‘Pedro Pan’ children are telling their stories

(My new post about Pedro Pan kids)

It’s an amazing story.

It involved children, from 5 to 18 years old.

It happened almost daily in Cuba as parents took their children to the airport, put them on plane and waved goodbye.  My parents looked into it but decided that we would leave together rather than separately.

We now call it “Operation Pedro Pan” and the numbers were staggering, according to Operation Pedro Pan Group, Inc:

“Over four decades ago, Cuban parents fearing indoctrination and that the Cuban government would take away their parental authority exercised one of the most fundamental human rights: the right to choose how their children would be educated.

From December 1960 to October 1962, more than fourteen thousand Cuban youths arrived alone in the United States. What is now known as Operation Pedro Pan was the largest recorded exodus of Unaccompanied minors in the Western Hemisphere.  The exodus of the Cuban children was virtually unknown for over 30 years. Msgr. Bryan O. Walsh who is considered the Father of our Exodus states that the name had only appeared in print in March of 62 and in a Reader’s Digest article in 1988. It was through the effort and work of Operation Pedro Pan Group, Inc. that the name Operation Pedro Pan became known throughout the US and the world.   Approximately, half of the minors were reunited with relatives or friends at the airport. More than half were cared for by the Catholic Welfare Bureau, directed by a young 30 year old Irish priest, Bryan O. Walsh. The children from the Cuban Refugee Children’s Program were placed in temporary shelters in Miami, and relocated in 30 States. Many children of the Unaccompanied Cuban Children’s program, are unaware that they were part of history in the making.”

Over time, “los Pedro Pans,” as they are affectionately known in the Cuban American community, were integrated into US life. In most cases, they became successful citizens of the US.

Over the last few years, many of these “Pedro Pan” have decided to write down their stories.  It probably started with Carlos Eire’s “Waiting for snow in Havana” and followed by a series of books, such as a new one called “Cuba adios” by Lorenzo Martinez.

These books serve important objectives:

1) they reminde us of our parents and their sacrifices;

2) they show the incredible generosity of Americans all over who helped these youngsters settle in new towns and cities very far from the tropical winds of Cuba;

3) they provide reading material to the young Cuban Americans born in the US.  Many of them are in high schools and could use these books to get closer to their Cuban grandparents; and,

4) they will allow future historians, in a hopefully free Cuba, get the background information about the Cuban immigration of the 1960s and 1970s.    I’m not sure how much Cubans in the island know “the exile story,” especially the sacrifice of a coming to a new land.

I’m thrilled that more and more Cubans are telling their stories.  It’s amazing how similar and different they are.

P. S. You can hear CANTO TALK here & follow me on Twitter @ scantojr.

 

“La Habana” plus other US-Latin America stories of the week

We spoke tonight with:

Graciela Chelo Lodeiro, author of “Cuando La Habana era La Habana”.

Fausta Wertz Rodriguez, editor of Fausta’s Blog.

You can listen here:

“Leche condensada” and other things we had growing up Cuban!

Please listen to our Cuban food show with Marta Verdes Darby, editor of “My big fat Cuban family“;

Sonia Martinez, author of “Tropical taste“; and,

Frank Burke, friend of the show and contributor to American Thinker.

And we got to wish Marta’s mom “Happy 100th” birthday!

Last, but not least, we remembered “leche condesada” and growing up Cuban.

 

Habana vs Almendares: A little “beisbol” in Cuba

We remember an important anniversary in Cuban baseball:

“On December 29, 1878, the first game is played between two teams of the first professional baseball league in Cuba, later known as the Cuban League.

Representing the city of Havana, the Habana club faced off against their greatest rivals, a club from the neighboring suburb of Almendares. Habana, coached by Esteban Bellán, the first Cuban to play professional baseball in the United States, won that inaugural game 21-20.”

The first game eventually turned into the very successful Almendares-Habana rivalry, the Cuban version of the Yankees-Red Sox story.   Eventually, there was a winter league with teams like Marianao and Cienfuegos.

It all started today in 1878!

 

 

“The struggle begins”: A book about Cubans in the US

Guest: Victor Andres Triay, author of “The struggle begins”.  This is a Cuban story circa 1960-62.

CLICK BELOW TO LISTEN: