Back in the late 1950’s, Brooks Robinson played in the Cuba winter league. He was a young infielder for Cienfuegos.
In fact, Brooks spoke about his Cuba experience in a long interview.
At that time, enjoying success in the Cuban winter league was a stepping stone to earning a job in the majors. Brooks’ glove work caught the eye of many including my late father who watched him play.
Robinson also played with Mike Cuellar, the great Cuban lefthander who won 119 games in 6 seasons in Baltimore, including sharing the 1969 Cy Young Award with Denny McLain and pitching the complete game victory that won the 1970 World Series. (The photo above is Brooks Robinson and Mike Cuellar enjoying the victory)
From 1959 to 1975, Brooks won 16 consecutive Gold Glove Award as the best third baseman in the American League. Brooks was a part time player in 1976 and retired in 1977.
Brooks Robinson was synonymous with third base! He was also a clutch hitter, i.e. 2,848 hits and 1,357 RBI. He was the AL MVP in 1964 and World Series MVP in 1970.
And it all started with Cienfuegos in the Cuban Winter League.