Thursday, September 22, 2011

Pelayo Chacon starred as a player and manager in the Cuban League

Sept. 22: On this day in 1889, Cuban baseball star Pelayo Chacon was born in Havana, Cuba.

Elected to the Cuban Baseball Hall of Fame in 1949, Chacon played for Fe, Almendares, White Sox, Cuban Stars, Marianao, Habana, San Jose, Cuba and Cienfuegos during 25 Cuban seasons from 1908-32.

According to Who's Who in Cuban Baseball, 1878-1961, Chacon (shown in this 1926-27 Aguilitas card) ranks fourth in Cuban League history in stolen bases (106). He led the league in batting average (.344) in 1920-21.

Chacon -- father of Elio Chacon, who played two seasons with the Reds and one with the Mets from 1960-62 -- also managed in the Cuban League with Cuba, Marianao, Cienfuegos and Santa Clara.

In 1929-30, he managed Cienfuegos, which was led by Negro leagues stars Cool Papa Bella, to the Cuban League pennant.

That season also brought the first radio broadcast of a Cuban baseball game on Dec. 22 from Almendares Park.

According to Cuban Baseball: A Statistical History, 1878-1961:
At first, the league prohibited the airing of the games, but station CMW (The Voice of The Antilles) persisted and placed a man with a phone and binoculars on top of a building near the playing field. Then announcer Adolfo Gil, at the other end of the phone in the studio, transmitted what he was told was happening. Later the league relented and CMW's direct phone was allowed inside the official scorer's booth.

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