The Amateur Era
The following timeline is a summary of the main events in Cuban Baseball history. It covers baseball in Cuba and the exploits of players of Cuban heritage from the 1860's to the year 2000. For more recent news see Latest News section. For the resources used see the Bibliography page.
1931 Dodgers make a short spring training stop in Cuba. Pitching for the Dodgers was no other than Cuban Adolfo Luque...Martin Dihigo is selected to the Cum Posey Negro League All-Star Team...The Cuban House of David team featured several Cubans. Pitcher Juan (Luis) Padron defeated the World Champion St. Louis Cardinals, 4-3, in ten innings.
1932 The Cuban Stars play in the Negro East-West League.
1933 Miguel Gonzalez becomes the first Latin American coach when he is named to the coaching staff of the New York Giants. He will coach for the Giants through 1946...Adolfo Luque pitches in relief and wins the deciding game of the 1933 World Series for the New York Giants.
1934 Luis Tiant is selected to the Cum Posey Negro League All-Star Team...Lazaro Salazar led the Cuban league in Batting (.407) and Pitching (6-1).
1935 On May 15, Adolfo Luque is named Coach of the New York Giants. He will coach till 1945... The New York Cubans organized by Alejandro Pompez made their debut in the Negro National League. They go on to be second half Champions...The New York Cubans defeat the Babe Ruth All-stars, 6-1 and 15-3. Luis Tiant wins both games and holds Babe Ruth to one hit...Martin Dihigo is selected to the Cum Posey Negro League All-Star Team...Luis Tiant, Sr. leads Negro league pitchers in Ks...Roberto "Tarzan" Estalella makes his Major League Debut...Martin Dihigo leads the Cuban League in Batting (.358) and Pitching (11-1) while managing Santa Clara to the Championship.
1936 In the 1936-37 season Raymond Brown would tie a mark set by Carlos Royer, in 1903, by winning 21 games in one season. He also threw a no hitter on November 7th...Martin Dihigo leads Negro League in HRs (13) and Batting Average (.391). Dihigo again is selected to the Cum Posey Negro League All-Star Team...The Cuban Stars play a series of games against the Cincinnati reds in Puerto Rico...The St. Louis cardinals visit Cuba.
1937 The New York Giants and the New York Black Yankees hold spring training in Cuba...During the summer league, in the Dominican Republic, General Rafael Trujillo organized a team featuring some of the greatest Negro League, Dominican and Cuban players of the day. Ciudad Trujillo was anchored by Leroy "Satchel" Paige and Josh Gibson. The team was managed by Cuban Lazaro Salazar and wins the Championship...On September 16, Martin Dihigo pitches first no-hitter in Mexico. He also becomes first player in Mexico to hit safely 6 times in 6 at-bats...Basilio Rosell leads Mexican league in SO (71)...On December 21 the first night game in Cuba was played at Tropical Stadium...Fermin "Mike" Guerra makes his Major League debut followed by Rene Monteagudo in 1938.
1938 The Homestead Grays, Champions of the Negro Leagues, played six games against Cuban teams and lost 4...Miguel Angel Gonzalez becomes the first Cuban and Latin-American Player to Manage in the Major Leagues when he is named Interim Manager for the St. Louis Cardinals. He would repeat as Interim Manager in 1940...Martin Dihigo has one of the greatest seasons in Mexican baseball history when he leads in ERA (0.90), wins (18-2), K's (184) and Batting (.387). On June 4 Dihigo strikes out 22 batters in 13 innings. But the highlight of the season was a duel against Satchel Paige, which Dihigo won (2-1)... Agustin Bejerano leads Mexican league in SB (23) and ties for lead in 2B (12).
1939 The Cuban baseball Hall of fame elects its first 10 members...The Homestead Grays visit Cuba again...Cuba makes its debut in the Amateur League World Series and wins...Lazaro Salazar leads Mexican League hitters (.374), pitchers (16-5) and manages Cordoba to the league Championship...On August 5th Martin Dihigo strikes out 18 in a nine inning game to set a new mark for the Mexican league. Dihigo lead the Mexican league in Strike Outs (202)...Agustin Bejerano leads Mexican league in hits (81) and SB (14).
1940's The war years would open the doors for several Cuban players to play in the Major Leagues: Gilberto Torres (1940), Angel "Jack" Aragon (1941), Roberto Ortiz (1941), Salvador Hernandez (1942), Antonio Ordenana (1943), Napoleon Reyes (1943), Tomas de la Cruz (1944), Preston Gomez (1944), Oliverio Ortiz (1944), Luis Suarez (1944), Santiago Ulrich (1944), Rogelio Valdez (1944), Jorge Comellas (1945), Isidro Leon (1945), Regino Otero (1945), Armando Roche (1945), Adrian Zabala (1945) and Jose Zardon (1945).
1940 In March both the Cincinnati Reds and the St. Louis Cardinals hold training camps in Cuba...Ramon Bragana leads Mexican League in ERA (2.58)...Silvio Garcia leads the Puerto Rican league in ERA (1.32).
1941 The Brooklyn Dodgers and Boston Red Sox visit Cuba...The New York Cubans are second half Champions of the Negro National League...Lazaro Salazar manages Mexico City Veracruz to the Mexican League championship...Silvio Garcia leads the Mexican hits (159) and Alejandro Crespo led in 2B (35).
1942 The Brooklyn Dodgers return to Cuba for spring training in Cuba and played several games against Cuban teams. During one of the games the Cuban outfielder Alejandro Crespo made the most spectacular catch of the series...Silvio Garcia led Mexican League in RBIs (83), Pedro Pages SB (30), Carlos Colas hits (128), and Santos Amaro 3B (12). Martin Dihigo led pitchers in ERA (2.53), Wins (22-7) and Ks (211). Dihigo also manages Torreon to the championship.
1943 The best Amateur League Championship was held this year when Deportivo Matanzas defeated Circulo Militar...Cuban Lazaro Salazar manages the Monterey Industriales to a Mexican League Championship. Alejandro Crespo leads Mexican League in 2B (31) and 3B (13), Hector Rodriguez SB (22) and Dihigo repeats as SO leader (134)...On December 11, Manuel "Cocaina" Garcia pitches no-hitter against Marianao.
1944 Tomas de la Cruz pitches 1 hitter for the Cincinnati Reds. He would pitch a no hitter next year in the Cuban League...Cuban pitchers capture lead in Mexican League: Adrian Zabala 2.74 ERA, Lazaro Salazar 14-8, Ramon Bragana 144 Ks and wins 30 games. Salvador Hernandez leads the league in HR (13), RBI (97) and 2B (29). Alberto Hernandez led in hits (131) and BA (.395) and Silvio Garcia led in SB (31). Ramon Bragana manages Mexico City Veracruz to the championship.
1945 On the 7th of January in a game between Almendares and Cienfuegos one of the most notorious events in Cuban Baseball History took place. It happened when Roberto Ortiz punched and knocked unconscious the Umpire Bernardino Rodriguez...The New York Cubans visited the island...Avelino Canizares is voted on the Negro Baseball Yearbook All-Star Team...Cubans dominate Mexican League: Claro Duany BA (.375), hits (140), RBI (100) and 2B (31 tied Heberto Blanco). Hector Rodriguez 3B (14), Silvio Garcia led in SB (40), and Roberto Ortiz HR (26). Cocaina Garcia 18-11 and Agapito Mayor 156 Ks led the pitchers. Armando Marsans manages Tampico to the Mexican Leaue championship. He repeats in 1946.
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