Sunday, April 10, 2011

Chuck Connors had acting in his blood even when he played in Cuba

April 10: On this day in 1921, Kevin Joseph Aloysius Connors was born in Brooklyn, N.Y.

If the name doesn't ring a bell, how about Chuck Connors of The Rifleman fame?

Before he embarked on his acting career, Connors was a Brooklyn Dodgers farmhand and played two seasons with Almendares, winning back-to-back Cuban League pennants from 1948-50.

In Cuba, Connors batted .257 with three home runs and 35 RBI during the 1948-49 season and .287 with three homers and 17 RBI in 1949-50.

As this photo might indicate, Connors was interested in the movies and acting even while he was playing in Cuba, according to former Almendares teammates and major-league catcher Mike Sandlock:
“When I got to Cuba … and [Connors] found out I was traded or sold from Montreal ... and he found out I was going to Hollywood [to play with the Class AAA Stars], oh jeez, he got in my ear and he says, 'When you get there, do some talking for me. I want to be up there.' Suddenly he got hooked up with L.A. [the Class AAA Angels]. The next thing you know, he got his foot in the door with acting.”

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