The 7 Cubans who made baseball wonderful in 1967

As another baseball season is into pennant race mode, let’s remember one of the best from the past. Our family had lived in Wisconsin for a couple of years, and we had baseball in our blood. I guess that’s what happens when your parents grow up listening to Habana vs Almendares on the radio.

It was 1967 and 4 teams were in contention for the AL pennant entering the last weekend of the season. They were Boston, Minnesota, Detroit and Chicago. We remind you that before divisional play was introduced in 1969, the World Series, or post season, was between the AL and NL champs. In other words, no divisions or wild cards back then. 

There were 7 Cubans playing in those 4 teams that year. 

The Minnesota Twins had perennial All Star Tony Olivaex-MVP Zoilo Versalles, outfielder Sandy Valdespino and back-up catcher Hank Izquierdo. Oliva led the AL with 34 doubles and hit .289 and Versalles played 160 games at shortstop. 

The Boston Red Sox had a outfielder Jose Tartabull.  His son Danny hit 252 HR in the majors later. 

The Detroit Tigers had a veteran pitcher Orlando Peña

The Chicago White Sox had a young pitcher Aurelio Monteguado

Back to the story and the amazing pennant race, as you can read in this article by Tim Wendel:

With two weeks left in the 1967 season, the Boston Red Sox, Detroit Tigers, and Minnesota Twins were tied for first place in the American League, with the Chicago White Sox a half-game back. 

As Mr. Wendel explains, most experts had picked the Orioles to repeat as AL champs.    Unfortunately, the O’s had injuries and never got going.

Chicago was eliminated Friday night. Detroit was eliminated on Sunday. 

It came down to game #162 between Boston and Minnesota.   The Red Sox won and they went on to the World Series. It was very exciting and I remember watching the last two games between Boston and Minnesota on TV. 

It will be different in 2023 because more teams will qualify for the post season. Nevertheless, we hope that baseball in October is as much fun as it was for our family watching the Cubans of 1967.

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2 thoughts on “The 7 Cubans who made baseball wonderful in 1967”

  1. La Academia Cuban de Baseball at Curtiss Park, Tony Olivia visited us. I want to remember Rodolfo Arias great person and Cuban pitcher. When I was a kid, those were the days, when I was a batboy for the Cuban league in Miami at Miami Stadium along with my old buddy Rudy Arias. Best bad words in Cuban Spanish in the dugout ever, man did we laugh!

  2. Rodolfo Arias, I believe he played for Marianao en La Liga Invernal de Cuba before Fidel (around 1958-1959)

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