Caribbean Series: Two Cubans to the Hall of Fame

During the celebration of the Caribbean Series in Puerto Rico two Cubans have been inducted in the Hall of Fame of that event. This unique hall, the only one a baseball event has in the world, is headquartered in the Puerto Rico Sports Museum in Guaynabo. Precisely the Cuban Camilo Pascual was the first elected to this hall in 1996 by his three titles (1956, 1959 and 1960), and also for having the biggest amount of wins in this tournament with six.

In 2015 Cubans Conrado Marrero and Napoleon Reyes are inducted. The privilege is even greater because they have been inducted with great icons of world baseball as Puerto Ricans Roberto Clemente, Juan “Igor González ‘, Hector Villanueva and Bernie Williams.

Marrero was late for these events, at 37, but was one of the key pillars of the Almendares in the triumph of the first version in 1949. He threw the first shutout in these events, and was instrumental with another Cuban pitcher, lefty Agapito Mayor, who won three games in the tournament and set a record for Caribbean Series that has not been equaled. Paradoxically Agapito Mayor has not been exalted.

Conrado Marrero will add this recent induction to the one in the Cuban Hall of Fame. He participated in four Caribbean tournaments where he won two games and lost two but pitched for excellent ERA of 1.84. He also completed the two games when he emerged victorious. About to turn 45 years he pitched three innings in a game against Panama, which his teammate, Jim Bunningen in his last Caribbean Series with the Marianao team. He won two tournaments with Almendares in 1949 and with Marianao in 1957.

Meanwhile Napoleon Reyes debuted in these events as manager of the Pastora de Venezuela in the sixth edition in 1954, and reached the last place with two wins and four defeats, but he got the first victory of a Venezuelan club over Cuba after ten defeats in line.

Napoleon Reyes is the only manager to win two consecutive tournaments in the Caribbean Series when he commanded the Marianao in 1957 and 1958. In both the Cuban team compiled nine wins and only three losses. By rights the Cuban strategist deserves a place in the temple of Caribbean baseball.

Previously, great Cuban players who have excelled in these tournaments as Atanasio “Tany” Perez, Hector Rodriguez, Edmundo “Sandy” Amoros, Orlando “El Guajiro” Peña, Orestes Miñoso and Pedro Formental have been inducted. Figures like the legendary sports broadcaster Felo Ramirez and referee Armando Rodriguez who worked in 16 editions of the Caribbean Series were inducted as well.

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