Monday, July 4, 2011
100 years ago today: Armando Marsans, Rafael Almeida made their major-league debuts for Reds
One hundred years ago today, as America celebrated Independence Day, Cuban-born Armando Marsans and Rafael Almeida made their major-league debuts for the Cincinnati Reds.
Although Esteban Bellan had played for the Troy Haymakers of the National Association in 1871, Marsans and Almeida were the first Cuban-born players to play in the majors during the modern era.
According to Retrosheet, Marsans (shown above with the Reds in this 1913 photo found at the Library of Congress) played right field and went 1-for-2. Almeida (shown below in this 1912 T207 card) also went 1-for-2 at third base.
NPR did an interesting report Monday, entitled Light-Skinned Cubans Cross Baseball's Color Line.
Marsans would go on to play for the Reds, St. Louis Terriers, St. Louis Browns and Yankees during eight major-league seasons from 1911-18.
Elected to the Cuban Baseball Hall of Fame in 1939, Marsans played for Almendares, Habana, Orientals and Cuba during 21 winters from 1905-28 and ranks first in Cuban League history in stolen bases (135), according to Who's Who in Cuban Baseball, 1878-1961.
He also managed nine seasons in the Cuban League with Almendares, Orientals, Cuba and Marianao, winning a pennant in 1917 with Orientals.
Almeida, who was elected to the Cuban Baseball Hall of Fame in 1939, only played three major-league seasons with the Reds from 1911-13.
But in the Cuban League, he played 17 seasons for Habana and Almendares from 1904-35.