Sunday, October 30, 2011

Dave Barnhill led Cuban League in wins, strikeouts in 1948-49 for Marianao

Oct. 30: On this day in 1914, Negro leagues star Dave Barnhill was born in Greenville, N.C.

Barnhill, who played for Alex Pompez's New York Cubans from 1941-49, played three seasons in the Cuban League with Marianao between 1947-50.

According to Who's Who in Cuban baseball, 1878-1961, Barnhill (left, with Tigres teammate Buck Leonard in this photo posted on the SABR Research Journal Archives) led the Cuban League with 13 victories in 1948-49 while posting a 2.76 ERA.

He's tied for the most strikeouts (15) in a Cuban League game on Jan. 10, 1948. Barnhill also led the league in stikeouts in 1947-48 (122) and 1948-49 (79).

Friday, October 28, 2011

Lloyd Davenport led Cuban League in hitting (.322) in 1945-46

Oct. 28: On this day in 1911, former Negro and Cuban league player Lloyd Davenport was born in New Orleans.

Davenport, who played for several Negro League teams between 1934-49, played for Habana, Almendares and Alacranes during five winters in Cuba between 1943-48.

According to Who's Who in Cuban Baseball, 1878-1961, Davenport (shown in this 1945-46 Felices card) is tied for the Cuban League record for most hits (six) in a game, accomplished against Marianao on Jan. 17, 1946. He also led the league in hitting (.322) in 1945-46, splitting the season with Habana and Almendares.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Don Richmond led Cuban League in doubles for Cienfuegos in 1948-49

Oct. 27: On this day in 1919, former major- and Cuban-League player Don Richmond was born in Gilbert, Penn.

Richmond (shown in this 1949-50 Alerta premium on Doug Goodman's Flickr photostream) played for Cienfuegos, Habana and Marianao in consecutive seasons from 1948-51. He led the Cuban League with 17 doubles while playing with Ceinfuegos in 1948-49, according to Who's Who in Cuban Baseball, 1878-1961.

In the majors, Richmond played for the Philadelphia Athletics in 1941, '46 and '47 and with the Cardinals in 1951.

His best season came in 1946 when he hit .290 in 62 at-bats.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Cardinals split their four games against Habana and Almendares in 1936 visit

Program for the "American Series" games March 5-8, 1936 between the visiting St. Louis Cardinals and Habana and Almendares of the Cuban League.

According to Cuban Baseball: A Statistical History, 1878-1961, the Cardinals split the four games during their spring training trip to Cuba, beating Almendares 5-4 and 6-1 and losing to Habana 13-8 and 2-1, with the Leones' Brujo Rosell picking up both victories.

But Miguel Angel Gonzalez, who had played most of his 23-year Cuban League career with the Habana, instead served on the coaching staff of the Cardinals, whose roster included Johnny Mize, Frankie Frisch, Leo Durocher, Pepper Martin and Joe Medwick.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Tony Castaño led Cuban League in hitting twice, led Cienfuegos to two pennants

Oct. 13: On this day in 1989, Cuban League star Antonio "Tony" Castaño died in Miami, Fla.

Elected to the Cuban Baseball Hall of Fame in 1967, Castaño played for Santa Clara, Habana, Cienfuegos, Marianao and Almendares during 14 winters in Cuba between 1936-50.

According to Who's Who in Cuban Baseball, 1878-1961, Castaño (shown in this 1946-47 Felices card) led the Cuban League in batting in 1938-39 (.371) and and 1939-40 (.340) and led the league with 44 RBI in the latter.

As a manager, Castaño led Cienfuegos to two Cuban League pennants (1959-60 and 1960-61) in four seasons. The 1959-60 team went on to win the Caribbean Series, going undefeated in six games.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Adolfo Lujan, Antonio Garcia, Rafael Hernandez among Cuba's earliest stars

Cover of El Score, a weekly publication covering Sports, art and literature in Cuba, likely from prior to 1900.

It features Cuban baseball pioneers Rafael Hernandez, Antonio Maria Garcia and Adolfo Lujan.

All three are enshrined in the Cuban Baseball Hall of Fame, with Hernandez elected in 1948 and Garcia and Lujan in 1939.

According to Who's Who in Cuban Baseball, 1878-1961, Hernandez played for Habana, Almendares, Habanista and Almendarists during 12 seasons from 1885-1899.

Garcia, who played for Almendares, Habana, Fe and Aguila de Oro during 18 seasons from 1882-1905, is tied for the most times leading the Cuban League in batting average (four) -- .448 in 1888, .369 in 1889-90, .362 in 1892 and .385 in 1892-93 -- while batting over .300 nine times.

And Lujan played eight seasons -- seven with Habana -- from 1882-91. Three times he led the league in games won while compiling a 34-9 record.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Don Lenhardt led Cuban League with 15 home runs for Habana in 1949-50

Oct. 4: On this day in 1922, former major- and Cuban-league player Don Lenhardt was born in Alton, Illinois.

Lenhardt (shown in this 1949-50 Alerta premium which mistakenly identifies him as "Jimmy Lenhart") played two seasons in the Cuban League with Habana: 1949-50 and 1953-54.

According to Who's Who in Cuban Baseball, 1878-1961, Lenhardt led the league with 15 home runs while batting .314 in 1949-50. He batted .304 in 1953-54.

In five major-league seasons, Lenhardt with the Browns, White Sox, Red Sox, Tigers and Orioles between 1950-54.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Armando Marsans is Cuban League's career leader in stolen bases

Oct. 3: On this day in 1887, Cuban baseball pioneer Armando Marsans was born in Matanzas, Cuba.

On July 4, 1911, Marsans (shown in this photo that was up for auction at in September 2010) and Rafael Almeida became the first Cuban-born players to play in the majors during the modern era.

Marsans batted .269 in eight major league seasons with the Reds, St. Louis Terriers (Federal League), St. Louis Browns and New York Yankees.

In the Cuban League, Marsans, elected to the Cuban Baseball Hall of Fame in 1939, played 20 seasons, mostly with Almendares.

According to Who's Who in Cuban Baseball, 1878-1961, he’s the all-time league leader in stolen bases (135) and six times batted over .300, including leading the lleague with a .400 batting average in 1913.

Marsans also led Orientals to the Cuban League pennant as manager in 1917.

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.