A History of Cuban Baseball, 1864-2006

A History of Cuban Baseball, 1864-2006

by Peter C. Bjarkman




When Cuba met Japan in the finals of Major League Baseball’s 2006 World Baseball Classic (WBC), many among the international audience were shocked that a purported “amateur” team could challenge for the sport’s first true world championship. But those who had paid attention to international tournaments were hardly surprised by Cuba’s strong showing against all-star teams of Puerto Rican, Dominican, Venezuelan, and U.S. major leaguers. The undisputed champions of global baseball, Cuba had reigned supreme for better than a half-century at the avowed American national game.
In this groundbreaking volume, Peter Bjarkman traces the full arc of island baseball history, from the pioneering era of integrated play in the winter leagues, across the many triumphs of the post-revolution decades, and up through Cuba’s initial WBC triumphs.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780786493821
Publisher: McFarland & Company, Incorporated Publishers
Publication date: 06/17/2014
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 496
Product dimensions: 8.40(w) x 11.00(h) x 1.20(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

The late Peter C. Bjarkman was a widely recognized authority on Cuban baseball history and a frequent visitor to the island nation. A past winner of the The Sporting News–SABR and Macmillan–SABR awards for baseball research, in 2011 he appeared on the Cuba episode of the Travel Channel’s No Reservations. He was the senior baseball writer for www.BaseballdeCuba.com, the leading Cuban League website.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents

Preface 1

Introduction 11

Part I—The Cuban Legends

1. Martín Dihigo—Baseball’s Least-Known Hall of Famer 25

2. Adolfo Luque—The Original “Pride of Havana” 39

3. Orestes Miñoso—The Cuban Comet 52

4. The Baseball Half-Century of Conrado Marrero 63

Part II—The Cuban Leagues

5. Myths and Legends of the Cuban Professional League (1878–1961) 79

6. Cuban Blackball’s Doubleheaders on the Dark Side of the Moon 130

7. Havana as Amateur Baseball Capital of the World 151

8. Cuba’s Revolutionary Baseball (1962–2005) 234

Part III—The Cuban Legacy

9. The Myth of Fidel Castro, Barbudos Ballplayer 299

10. Tarzán, Minnie, Zorro and El Duque—Cubans in the Major Leagues 315

11. The World’s Best Unknown Ballplayers 349

12. Playing with the Enemy: Player Defections, the Orioles, and Baseball Détente 386

Part IV—Appendices and Statistical Records

Appendix A: Chronology (1866–2006) 423

Appendix B: Blackball Register 434

Appendix C: Major League Register 446

Appendix D: Statistical Records 455

Bibliography 477

Index 481

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