As we hear Senator Rubio call on President Trump to reject the new MLB proposal with the Castro regime, we remember that professional began in Cuba on this day in 1878. By the way, Cuba was still a Spanish colony at the time, an interesting detail to say the least.
The first game was between Habana and Almendares, the two teams that would be great rivals until Castro dissolved the league after the 1960-61 season.
The league had four teams in the 1950’s: Habana, Almendares, Marianao and Cienfuegos.
It was great and very passionate baseball. My parents tell me stories of how they used to pick up the games on radio in Ciego De Avila for my mom and Sagua La Grande for my father.
The good news is that they were huge baseball fans.
The bad news is that my mom was a fan of Habana and my father Almendares. That’s like Yankees vs Red Sox! In my parents’ case, baseball opposites indeed attracted, got married and 3 more baseball fans came into the world.
Along the way, many major leaguers played winter ball in Cuba, from Willie Mays to Brooks Robinson.
Havana was also a AAA franchise, the Havana Sugar Kings in the Cincinnati organization. Havana played in The International League with other teams in Montreal and Toronto.
We remember Cuban baseball before it became a tool of the communist regime.