Sunday, October 3, 2010

Cuban baseball has early ties to ... Fordham University

Listed among Fordham University's Archives and Digital Collections are several web pages dedicated to Cuban Baseball.

That's because Esteban Bellán, the first Cuban and Latino to play in major league baseball, during his time at Fordham (1863-1868), played for the newly created Fordham Rose Hill Baseball Club.

Bellán played from 1869-71 for the Troy Haymakers, who in 1871 joined the National Association, which became the National League in 1876. On Dec. 27, 1874, Bellán played in the first organized baseball game in Cuba. Bellán's Habana club beat Matanzas 51-9 at Estadio Palmar de Junco.

Also the Zaldo brothers, Charles, Henry, and Frederick; who were from Havana, Cuba, also were all enrolled as students at Fordham from 1875-1878. Upon returning to Cuba in 1878, the Zaldo brothers founded the Almendares Baseball Club.

Charles Zaldo, who according to Jorge S. Figueredo's book, Who's Who in Cuban Baseball, 1878-1961, also was responsible was responsible for building Almendares Park, was elected to the Cuban Baseball Hall of Fame in 1953.

Outside of baseball, Zaldo became secretary of state in Cuba's first Constitutional cabinet in 1902.

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