The great Cuban baseball “9”

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The baseball season starts today and tomorrow……..so we would like to share a show that we did years ago……..it is long so please be patient……..in the first segment, Enrique Hubbard from Mexico tells us about the great black Cubans who played in the Mexican league before Jackie Robinson broke the color line in 1947………in the second segment, the Reyes brothers from New York joined me and we put together the Cuban baseball 9………by the way, our friend Ziva can be heard on this show…….you will learn a lot about Cuban baseball…….enjoy it!

 

Remembering some of the great Cuban players of major league history………https://t.co/WpZclsq4jj

Happy # 82 to Camilo Pascual

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As a young kid, my favorite Cuban baseball player was Camilo Pascual.  He pitched most his career for the original Washington Senators who became the Minnesota Twins in 1961.

As a Senator, Pascual pitched for very bad teams.   It got better when the team moved to Minnesota and the Twins became a perennial contender with a young Harmon Killebrew, power hitter Bob Allison,  the very good lefty Jim Kaat and fellow Cubans Tony Oliva & Zoilo Versalles.

His numbers were great with the Twins:   20-11 in 1962 and 20-9 in 1963.     He led the league in strikeouts 3 years in a row.  In other words, he was one of the best right handed pitchers in baseball.

Overall, he won 176 games with a very good 3.63 career ERA.    He would have easily won 230 games with a better team!

We say happy birthday to one of my heroes.    I don’t know what Camilo is doing these days.   I read a few years ago that he was scouting for the Twins in Latin America.

Happy birthday to the great Camilo.

The all-Cuban triple play in baseball

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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