Cubans in the Major Leagues
A great number of Cubans have played in the major leagues. The first was Esteban Bellan, who played in the 1870s. Then in 1911 the Cincinnati Reds brought in Rafael Almeida and Armando Marsans. They were followed by a steady stream of players from the Island. Adolfo Luque became the first Latin super star when he led all pitchers with an outstanding 27-8 record and a 1.93 ERA in 1923. In the 1950s Minnie Miñoso and other black Cubans helped integrate the Major Leagues. The 60s and 70s brought players who left the now Communist country like Camilo Pascual, Luis Tiant, Tony Perez and Tony Oliva. More recently Jose Contreras and Orlando “El Duque” Hernandez have reached stardom. Lately defections from Cuba by star ballplayers highlight Cuban baseball news. Cuban stars like Aroldis Chapman and Yasiel Puig have risked everything to play the highest level of baseball found here in the United States.