Saturday, July 30, 2011

Rafael Almeida played for Habana, Almendares in 17 Cuban winters

July 30: On this day in 1887, Cuban baseball pioneer Rafael Almeida was born in Habana, Cuba.

Almeida, along with Armando Marsans, made their major-league debuts 100 years ago on July 4, 1911 with the Cincinnati Reds, becoming the first Cuban-born major-league players of the modern era (Esteban Bellan had played for the Troy Haymakers of the National Association in 1871).

Elected to the Cuban Baseball Hall of Fame in 1939, Almeida played for Habana and Almendares in 17 Cuban League seasons between 1904-25.

In the majors, Almeida (shown in this 1909 Cabañas card) played three seasons for the Reds from 1911-13, compiling a .270 batting average in 102 games.

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