We remember a couple of cubanos who played in Cuba and the major leagues.
Roberto Ventoza Estalella was born in Cardenas, Cuba, on April 25, 1911. Bobby, as he was known, made it to the majors in 1935. Bobby played 9 years and retired with a very good .282 batting average with the old Senators (now the Twins) and the A’s. His best seasons were 1944-45 when he hit .298 and .299. We will never know for sure but the end of World War II probably impacted his playing career. In 1946, many American players returned and teams were under pressure to give them their old jobs back. After baseball, Bobby worked as a butcher in Washington DC and was hired by the Senators to teach English to a new generation of Cubans: Carlos Paula, Pedro Ramos, Juan Delis, and Camilo Pascual.
In 1975, Luis Tiant’s father was allowed to travel to the US to see his son Luis pitch in the World Series. As a consequence, Luis, Sr. and Bobby met again after having been teammates in the old Cuba leagues. Victor, his son, and grandson Robert, also played in the major leagues. Bobby died in 1991 and is buried in Miami.