Friday, January 7, 2011

Roberto Ortiz attacked umpire in ugly incident in 1944-45 season

Jan. 7: On this day in 1945, Almendares first baseman Roberto Ortiz, in what may have been the most violent incident in Cuban League history, attacked umpire Bernardo Rodriguez.

Irate over a call, Ortiz (shown in this Carteles magazine premium) punched Rodriguez, knocking him unconscious, according to Smoke: The Romance and Lore of Cuban Baseball.

Cuban Baseball: A Statistical History, 1878-1961 says Rodriguez had to be hospitalized as a result of the attack, and Ortiz, who apologized in a letter published in the Cuban news media, was suspended for the remainder of the season.

Despite Almendares being without its power-hitting first baseman -- and needing its manager Adolfo Luqueto take the mound at age 54 because of injuries to its pitching staff -- the Scorpions went on to win the Cuban League pennant by seven games over Habana.

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