Leonardo Lazaro (Alfonso) Cardenas was born in Matanzas on this day in 1938. He made it to the majors in 1960 where he got the nickname of “Chico”. He was also quickly known as “Mr. Automatic” because he was so good at playing shortstop.
Cardenas was a 5-time All Star. He played 9 years with the Cincinnati Reds and 3 with the Minnesota Twins. He replaced fellow Cuban Zoilo Versalles as the shortstop for the Twins.
Overall, he hit .257 over 16 seasons. He is best remembered as the man who made everything look easy at shortstop.
We finally remember Cardenas as one of the surviving Cubans who played in the Cuban winter league and the big leagues.