The Pride of Havana: A History of Cuban Baseball

By Roberto González Echevarría | Go to book overview
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Baseball and Revolution

There has never been a case in which a head of state has been involved so prominently and for such a long period in a nation's favored sport as Fidel Castro has been with baseball in Cuba. So many controversies have surrounded the Cuban Revolution that few have taken notice or given serious thought to this phenomenon. To many, I suppose, it is a slightly humorous topic, frivolous by comparison to many painful ones concerning Cuba. To others, perhaps, it is evidence of the Maximum Leader's youthful, unaffected spirit. But because of the historical depth and relevance of baseball in Cuban culture and history, the commander in chiefs relationship to the national sport is no trivial matter. Fidel Castro's role in the sport during the revolutionary period is necessarily an important subject. In a sense it defines baseball in Cuba from 1959 until today, a span as long as the era from the turn of the century to the Amateur World Series and the revival of the Cuban League in the early forties.

Given the inordinate length of Fidel Castro's tenure in power, it is impossible to find even a close second in this aspect of his performance, and only the most ludicrous hypothetical comparisons come to mind. It is, for instance, as if Franco had been deeply and visibly committed to the fate of bullfighting in Spain throughout his long rule and donned the traje de luces once in a while to try a few passes. I am not aware if Perón attended

-352-

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The Pride of Havana: A History of Cuban Baseball
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Acknowledgments ix
  • First Pitch 3
  • The Last Game 14
  • From a House Divided to a Full House 44
  • A Cuban Belle Époque 75
  • The Golden Age 112
  • The Great Amateur Era 189
  • The Revival of the Cuban League 252
  • The Age of Gold 298
  • Baseball and Revolution 352
  • Notes 407
  • Bibliography 423
  • Index 441
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