Saturday, October 1, 2011

Esteban Bellán was the first Cuban to play in a major league with Haymakers in 1871

Oct. 1: On this day in 1849, Cuban baseball pioneer Esteban Bellán was born in Havana, Cuba.

Bellán became the first Cuban-born player to appear in a major league when he played for the Troy Haymakers of the National Association in 1871.

He's shown standing second from the left in this photo of the "Haymaker nine" that appears at the National Baseball Hall of Fame's Viva Beisbol online exhibit.

Bellán, who as a student at Fordham University (1863-1868) played for the  Fordham Rose Hill Baseball Club, played in the first "official" organized baseball game in Cuba on Dec. 27, 1874. Bellán’s Habana club beat Matanzas 51-9 at Estadio Palmar de Junco.

One of the founders of the Cuban League, Bellán played five seasons for Habana from 1878-86, managing the team in three of those seasons, which included two first-place finishes.

He was elected to the Cuban Baseball Hall of Fame in 1984.

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