Thursday, September 1, 2011

Conrado Marrero was an amatuer star in Cuba before joining Almendares

Cuban baseball legend Conrado Marrero during his playing days with the Cienfuegos club of La Liga de la Uniόn Atlética, Cuba's amateur baseball league.

The photo appears in a March 4, 2011 post at Tom Hawthorne's Blog, more than a month before Marrero turned 100, making him the oldest living former major-league player.

Aside from amateur vs. professional status, there was another major difference between the professional Cuban League and La Liga de la Uniόn Atlética.

Black and white players had participated in the professional Cuban League since the late 1800s.

But la Uniόn Atlética -- as El Nuevo Herald sports writer Marino Martínez detailed in his presentation at the Cuban Cultural Center of New York's Aug. 20 congress on Cuban baseball history -- excluded black players.

Teams in La Uniόn Atlética, which existed from 1914-1960, were affiliated with Cuba's affluent social clubs, which also blocked black Cubans from obtaining membership.

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