The new immortals of Cuban baseball (I)

A few days ago the Cuban National Baseball Hall of Fame was refounded, and after 54 years without exaltations five players of the period from 1864 to 1962 were elected, and another five from 1962 to the present.

I was not so bad. The immense fortune to be among the initial 67 voters helped me coincide with eight finalists from the 1864 to 1962 period. The ten players with the most votes reached, and were evaluated by the Selection Committee were: Atanasio “Tany” Perez, Luis Tiant (Jr), Willy Miranda, Pedro “Natilla” Jimenez Esteban Bellan, Roberto Ortiz, Amado Maestri, Camilo Pascual, Orestes Miñoso and Conrado Marrero.

Conrado Marrero was the only player who won election his unanimously. El Guajiro de Laberinto arrived in baseball late, and shined at all levels. That short peasant from Sagua la Grande was great in the amateurism with Cienfuegos and had a balance of 128-41. The highlight of his career is that debuted in the majors in 1950 at the age of 39 years with one of the worst franchises in the majors: the Washington Senators. In four seasons with the club he won 39 games and lost 40.

Big hitters of the era had anemic numbers against Marrero. Mickey Mantle hit him for 235, Yogi Berra 200 and Billy Martin only 133. He won in 20 year career at all levels 367 games and lost 128. In 4602 and a third innings of action he pitched for an awesome ERA of 2, 22. His control was enviable, and it shows the ratio of K / BB was 2751/1311. It is a pity that the Premier has said goodbye in this 2014 two days shy of 103 years when he was the eldest Major League Baseball player alive.

Another inductee was Esteban Bellan. This baseball player reaches the Hall of Fame not for his numbers but to settle a historical debt to the first Latino player who starred in the American professional baseball in 1871. His numbers in American baseball are discreet but he has the merit of having participated in the historical game of Palmar de Junco in 1874, and the first game of a Cuban championship on December 29, 1878. It is amazing that he wasn’t inducted between 1939 and 1961.

With great justice Miñoso Orestes was another elected but I will not refer to him because we analyzed his career in a previous work (

Camilo Pascual is one of the immortals of Cuban baseball. He had good numbers in the majors. His best season was 1963, when he won twenty-one games and lost nine, with 2.46 ERA though in 1962 he also won twenty games. He was three times leader in complete games (1959, 1962 and 1963) and three times led in shutouts (1959, 1961 and 1962) in the American League. From 1961-1963 he struck out 200 batters or more in a season (221, 206 and 202 respectively).

He pitched in 17 Major League seasons (1954-1971) for several teams: Washington Senators, Minnesota Twins, Cincinnati Reds, Cleveland Indians and Dodgers. His final numbers in the majors were 529 games pitched, 404 games started, 132 complete games, 2930 innings and ERA of 3.63. He walked 1069 and struck out 2,167 batters. He pitched 36 shutouts and allowed 256 homers. He just hit 61 batters, and made 86 wild pitches.

The fifth in the voting brought much controversy because “Tany” Perez and Amado Maestri were tied, and in the runoff the prominent umpire beat incredibly the immortal of Cooperstown. I confess that I took for sure the exaltation of man who entered the Hall of Fame in 2000. Besides the fact that his 379 homers in the big show, and great performances with the Big Red Machine of Cincinatti in the 1970s gave him greater merits but the evaluation committee voted for Maestri´s history.

My notably absentees: Tony Perez and Luis Tiant (Jr) although I approve the inclusion of a non-player which can open the door for future elections to Felo Ramirez, Juan Antonio “Bobby” Salamanca or Eddy Martin.



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