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Monday, November 28, 2016

OTP: 28 November 2016: Bud Selig reminisces about 1999 MLB trip to Cuba, meeting Fidel Castro

Once Robinson broke the color barrier in 1947, there was a small window where it was somewhat easier for Latin players to make the transition to las Grandes Ligas. But that all changed when Castro overthrew the Batista regime and took control of Cuba in 1959.

Luis Tiant, the star pitcher for the Indians and Red Sox and who pitched for the Yankees as well, never returned to his native Cuba after the 1961 failed Bay of Pigs invasion. Tiant, now 76, was playing in Mexico at the time of the botched, CIA-backed military operation designed to topple Castro. Tiant fled to the U.S. in ’61 and carved out a stellar major league career, including his star turn in the 1975 World Series between his Red Sox and the Reds.

Earlier that season, South Dakota Sen. George McGovern brokered a deal with Castro that allowed Tiant’s parents to travel from Cuba to the U.S. to see their son pitch for the Sox. Luis Sr., Tiant’s father, was a pitching star in the Negro Leagues, and he threw out the first pitch before his son took the mound at Fenway against the A’s in an Aug. 30, 1975 game.

“My father got beat around pretty good,” Tiant’s son, also named Luis, told The News Saturday, referring to his father giving up six runs in 2.2 innings of a Red Sox loss. “My grandfather was not too happy about it.” Tiant’s parents remained in the U.S. after their arrival in ’75, but both died the following year several days apart. Luis Tiant, the former major leaguer, returned to Cuba in 2007, an emotional trip that was documented in the 2009 film, “The Lost Son of Havana.”

 

Renegade (((JE))) Posted: November 28, 2016 at 12:08 AM | 1913 comment(s)
  Beats: bud selig, cuba, cuban players, otp, politics

 

 

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