A couple of “cubanos” who should be in The Baseball Hall of Fame


The Baseball Hall of Fame will soon be announcing the 2015 inductees.    It looks very likely that Randy Johnson, Pedro Martinez and John Smoltz will join the Hall.   They deserve to go in on the first ballot.  They were great pitchers.

Unfortunately, two great “cubanos” from recent baseball memory will not be going in this  time around

We are talking about Tony Oliva and Luis Tiant.    

Oliva was one of the best hitters in baseball from 1964-72, until a knew injury cut short his career:

“Oliva was a .313 hitter from 1962-72 for the Twins, with whom he spent his entire 15-year career, and led the AL in hits five times from 1964-70.

He was a three-time AL batting champion and an eight-time All-Star, and was twice runner-up for the AL MVP Award.”

He was outstanding and managed to get 2,000 hits and over 900 Rbi’s in 12 years in the majors.    Oliva was the definition of consistency.   Just ask the pitchers of that period and you will hear that pitching to Oliva was impossible.    His best season was probably 1970 when he hit .325 with 107 Rbis.

Tiant, or “El Tiante”, was flashy and one of the most popular players ever to wear the Red Sox uniform.  

His performance in the 1975 post season was legendary with that pitching motion that drove batters crazy and fans wild.  

Tiant, the son of a Cuban who excelled in the old Negro Leagues, won 229 games with a 3.30 ERA.     He led the AL twice in ERA.    He was plain dominant in 1968 when he went 21-9 with a 1.60 ERA.      

Oliva almost made it this time and he probably will soon.   We are hoping that Tiant joins him as well.  

As a kid growing up in the US, I collected the Oliva and Tiant baseball cards.  They were two of my favorites.   I also had a chance to meet them.  They are two great ambassadors for the game.

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Pay Castro Inc “un honorario de 20%” and you can play overseas!

According to Maria C. Werlau, “Fidel Castro Inc” is one big conglomerate for a guy who is made a career pretending to be a socialist.   The family business is big enough for Fidel and Raul to make the list of some of the richest people in the planet.

Again, not bad for a couple of brothers who are cheered around the world as “revolutionaries”!

The latest money making scheme for Castro Inc is to send Cuban athletes overseas.   Castro Inc never passes up the opportunity to make a “peso”!

As you may remember, professional sports were outlawed in Cuba in 1961.   That was then, or the days of the Soviet subsidy and when the regime spent all of the stolen property from Cubans and foreign interests.

This is now, or the reality that Cuba desperately needs hard currency and no one is lining up to lend the regime any money.  Why would you lend money to an enterprise that defaults often?

To say the least, Cubans in the major leagues are doing quite well, from Puig in LA, to Cespedes in Oakland to Fernandez in Miami.    The latest name is Jose Abreu, a first baseman with power who is shopping for a major league contract.

However, these four men do not “share” their income with Castro Inc.  They are professional athletes who had the freedom to negotiate contracts.

They are “defectors” or players who established residency in another country and became free agents.  They are eligible to sign with any organization, as the aforementioned Abreu who will be playing somewhere next year.

That’s the way it should be until there is regime change in Cuba!

A few weeks ago, Castro Inc made a change and announced that Cuban athletes could play overseas.

Alfredo Despaigne is the first “test case” for Castro Inc.  The arrangement is that the regime keeps 20% of the salary.  He played in Mexico this year and hit well.  At the same time, let’s remember that the Mexican summer league is a low version of AAA baseball.  It’s not unusual for a good Cuban player to hit .338 against the quality of pitching in that league.

Let’s not forget also that Cuban players know that the best baseball is played in the majors.  This is where they want to play and that is why they defect!

Major League baseball, and the US government, should take a tough position against Castro Inc. when it comes to these ballplayers.

Castro Inc wants to “rent” the players and create another source of income for the family business.

I believe that Commissioner Selig should make it clear that MLB is not going to play this game.

The players should be free to sign their own deals and negotiate directly with a team.  They should not be forced to share their income with Castro Inc.

The players’ union should oppose that arrangement too.

Last, but not least, there is also the issue of “the embargo” and money flow between the island and the US.

Let’s fill the majors with Cuban players.   However, let them be “FREE” Cuban players not “servants” of Castro Inc.