Baseball Trivia (General)/Did Fidel Castro try out
I am a student in a journalism information gathering class. One thing I am trying to find out for that class is whether or not Fidel Castro tried out for a major league baseball team. I have found mixed results on the subject and I am trying to find out whether or not he did. If he did, it might have been for the Washington Senators or the New York Yankees as a pitcher. Thanks for your time.
There has been a long-standing rumor that Castro tried out for, but was rejected by, a major league team -- either the Senators or the Yankees.
My research has found the following (see www.snopes.com/sports/baseball/castro
Although this legend has an aura of plausibility to Americans in that baseball has long flourished in Cuba (only the Dominican Republic has supplied more foreign-born players to the North American-based major leagues) and Castro has been a very visible supporter of (and pseudo-participant in) the sport, it is neither true nor credible, as Cubans have always been aware.
Castro never had a tryout with a major-league baseball team, never played the sport professionally, and didn't come close to possessing skills which would attract the interest of a big-league team, as Yale professor Roberto González Echevarría noted in his history of Cuban baseball:
I have written a book that I hope will correct some of the views Americans and others have of Cuban baseball. To me, the most vexing example of how lightly and condescendingly the history of Latin baseball is dealt with in the United States involves a story about Fidel Castro that I would like to set straight here once and for all.
Every time I mentioned that I was writing a book about Cuban baseball, the first thing Americans said had to do with Fidel's (which is how we Cubans call him, never "Castro") alleged prowess in the sport, and the irony that, had he been signed by the Senators or the Giants, there would have been no Cuban Revolution.
The whole thing is a fabrication by an American journalist whose name is now lost, and it is never told in Cuba because everyone would know it to be false.
Let it be known here that Fidel Castro was never scouted by any major-league team, and is not known to have enjoyed the kind of success in baseball that could have brought a scout's attention to him. In a country where sports coverage was broad and thorough, in a city such as Havana with a half-dozen major newspapers (plus dozens of minor ones) and with organized leagues at all levels, there is no record that Fidel Castro ever played, much less starred, on any team. No one has produced even one team picture with Fidel Castro in it. I have found the box score of an intramural game played between the Law and the Business Schools at the University of Havana where a certain F. Castro pitched and lost, 5-4, in late November 1946; this is likely to be the only published box score in which the future dictator appears (El Mundo, November 28, 1946). Cubans know that Fidel Castro was no ballplayer, though he dressed himself in the uniform of a spurious, tongue-in-cheek team called Barbudos (Bearded Ones) after he came to power in 1959 and played a few exhibition games. There was no doubt then about his making any team in Cuba. Given a whole country to toy with, Fidel Castro realized the dream of most middle-aged Cuban men by pulling on a uniform and "playing" a few innings.