President McKinley was eloquent, if perhaps disingenuous, when he declared that ties "of singular intimacy" bound Cuba and the United States. This could not be truer than during the years of U.S. military rule following the Spanish-American War ( 1898-1902), and other occupations of the island until the thirties, particularly the one between 1906 and 1909, when Cuba was again under U.S. control, a mere four years after having been declared independent. Intimacy does not necessarily mean love, of course, but familiarity; it can breed hatred, affection, competition, and the whole gamut of tensions prevalent in any family group. From a Cuban point of view, McKinley's statement could be countered with a variation on Porfirio Diaz's famous quip about Mexico: "Poor Cuba, so far from God, yet so close to the United States!" In the twentieth century, baseball was perhaps as good an index as any of the complicated relationship between Cuba and its mighty neighbor to the north, whose game it had adopted in the process of rejecting the Spanish motherland and of developing a sense of nationality.
In the first third of the twentieth century, Cuban baseball, particularly the professional kind, was deeply affected by the close political, economic, and cultural relations between the island and the United States (close is something of a misnomer, since the politics and business of the United