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Thursday, April 24, 2014

Connie Marrero, oldest Major Leaguer, dies at 102

Connie Marrero, the Cuban right-hander who pitched for the Senators in the 1950s and was the oldest living Major Leaguer, died this week just two days shy of his 103rd birthday, the Associated Press reported. Only Red Hoff, who died at 107, played in an MLB game and lived longer than Marrero.

They called Marrero “the Cuban cutie,” a “muscle-bound little gnome,” “the ageless Cuban,” “a real pixie,” and Chico — coined “by sportswriters who had trouble spelling Corrado [sic],” according to one newspaper account. They often quoted him phonetically in an exaggerated cartoon-like dialect (“Me peetch gude”) and seemed infatuated with the big cigar, thick accent and unusual physique. Shirley Povich, the Washington Post columnist, compared him with a fire hydrant — “as easy to step over as step around.”

Mike Sandlock, you’re on deck.

Gonfalon Bubble Posted: April 24, 2014 at 03:30 PM | 39 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: history

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   1. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: April 24, 2014 at 05:21 PM (#4693527)
Chico — coined “by sportswriters who had trouble spelling Corrado [sic],”


This says volumes about sportswriters.
   2. A big pile of nonsense (gef the talking mongoose) Posted: April 24, 2014 at 05:34 PM (#4693543)
"muscle-bound little gnome"


Wasn't this one of Bitter Mouse's BTF handles at some point?
   3. Ray (RDP) Posted: April 24, 2014 at 05:38 PM (#4693551)
At least this is slightly better than the contradictory headline I read yesterday -- "Connie Marrero, oldest living ex-Major League Baseball player, dies
in Cuba at 102" -- but still "oldest major leaguer" is also not quite true.
   4. Misirlou's been working for the drug squad Posted: April 24, 2014 at 06:12 PM (#4693582)
In Marrero's last MLB season, he was teammates with 18 YO Harmon Killebrew in his first. In Killebrew's last season, he was managed by Jack McKeon. In McKeon's last season, he managed 21 YO Giancarlo Stanton.
   5. Misirlou's been working for the drug squad Posted: April 24, 2014 at 06:38 PM (#4693603)
Looking at Wikipedia's list of oldest living ball players, it looks like Bobby Doerr is the last living player to have played in the 1930s
   6. RMc is a fine piece of cheese Posted: April 24, 2014 at 06:57 PM (#4693620)
If Babe Ruth had lived as long as Marrero did, he would've been alive to see the Devil Rays and Diamondbacks play in 1998.
   7. Steve Treder Posted: April 24, 2014 at 07:02 PM (#4693624)
When I visited Marrero in 2010, he talked about listening to the 1924 World Series on the radio, and hearing "Wally" Johnson pitch.

THAT blew my mind.
   8. esseff Posted: April 24, 2014 at 07:10 PM (#4693629)
If Babe Ruth had lived as long as Marrero did, he would've been alive to see the Devil Rays and Diamondbacks play in 1998.


I hate myself for being this pedantic, but this is not quite true.
   9. ajnrules Posted: April 24, 2014 at 07:15 PM (#4693631)
RIP Connie Marrero.

That leaves Mike Sandlock as the oldest living former major leaguer.
   10. AndrewJ Posted: April 24, 2014 at 07:41 PM (#4693643)
If Babe Ruth had lived as long as Marrero did, he would've been alive to see the Devil Rays and Diamondbacks play in 1998.


If Jim Creighton had lived as long as Marrero did, he could have seen Stan Musial and Warren Spahn play.
   11. esseff Posted: April 24, 2014 at 08:12 PM (#4693660)
In that same vein, I find it amazing that Cy Young and I walked this planet at the same time.
   12. AndrewJ Posted: April 24, 2014 at 08:30 PM (#4693667)
The last surviving Spanish-American War veteran died in 1993.
   13. esseff Posted: April 24, 2014 at 08:40 PM (#4693671)
As a writer, Shirley Povich started by covering Walter Johnson's Senators and wrote his final column about Mark McGwire in 1998.
   14. BDC Posted: April 24, 2014 at 08:47 PM (#4693674)
If Napoleon I had lived as long as Marrero, he would have seen the Franco-Prussian War. Which would have killed him.
   15. AndrewJ Posted: April 24, 2014 at 08:57 PM (#4693680)
As a writer, Shirley Povich started by covering Walter Johnson's Senators and wrote his final column about Mark McGwire in 1998.

His Washington Post career began two years before Lou Gehrig's consecutive game streak began and ended three months before Cal Ripken stopped his consecutive game streak.
   16. The Yankee Clapper Posted: April 24, 2014 at 09:01 PM (#4693681)
As a writer, Shirley Povich started by covering Walter Johnson's Senators and wrote his final column about Mark McGwire in 1998.

In one of his columns from that approximate time period - long after he "officially retired" from the Washington Post, Povich wrote about going down to the docks in Maine as a boy to get the morning Boston papers for the World Series results since that was before radio. Live long, see a lot.
   17. esseff Posted: April 24, 2014 at 09:04 PM (#4693682)
This seems to fit the theme.
   18. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: April 24, 2014 at 09:09 PM (#4693687)

That leaves Mike Sandlock as the oldest living former major leaguer.


Wow, not Julio Franco?
   19. JRVJ Posted: April 24, 2014 at 09:52 PM (#4693707)





If Napoleon I had lived as long as Marrero, he would have seen the Franco-Prussian War. Which would have killed him.


Only to the extent that they have the decency to hold a battle or three on St. Helena, for Napoleon's viewing pleasure.
   20. Publius Publicola Posted: April 24, 2014 at 10:03 PM (#4693713)
by sportswriters who had trouble spelling Corrado


Why didn't they just call him Uncle Junior?
   21. DanG Posted: April 24, 2014 at 10:52 PM (#4693734)
Looking at Wikipedia's list of oldest living ball players, it looks like Bobby Doerr is the last living player to have played in the 1930s
The PI shows these 25 living ex-players being born in 1920 or earlier:

Player            WAR/pos Born    G From   To   Age      Pos                      Tm
Mike Sandlock        
-0.0 1915  195 1942 1953 26-37  *2/65H4             BSN-BRO-PIT
Ray Hathaway         
-0.0 1916    4 1945 1945 28-28       *1                     BRO
Eddie Carnett        
-0.0 1916  158 1941 1945 24-28  /783H91             BSN-CHW-CLE
Alex Monchak         
-0.2 1917   19 1940 1940 23-23     /6H4                     PHI
Lennie Merullo        1.4 1917  639 1941 1947 24
-30  *6/H534                     CHC
Chuck Stevens        
-1.4 1918  211 1941 1948 22-29     *3/H                     SLB
Fred Caligiuri        0.0 1918   18 1941 1942 22
-23       *1                     PHA
Lou Lucier           
-0.0 1918   33 1943 1945 25-27       *1             BOS-TOT-PHI
Bill Endicott         0.1 1918   20 1946 1946 27
-27      *H7                     STL
Carl Miles            0.2 1918    2 1940 1940 22
-22       *1                     PHA
Bobby Doerr          51.2 1918 1865 1937 1951 19
-33     *4/H                     BOS
Bill Mills            0.0 1919    5 1944 1944 24
-24      *H2                     PHA
Lee Pfund             0.0 1919   15 1945 1945 25
-25       *1                     BRO
Rugger Ardizoia       0.0 1919    1 1947 1947 27
-27       *1                     NYY
Tom Jordan           
-0.0 1919   39 1944 1948 24-28      *2H             CHW-TOT-SLB
Steve Nagy            0.2 1919   21 1947 1950 28
-31      *1H                 PIT-WSH
Luis Olmo             1.8 1919  462 1943 1951 23
-31  87/5H49                 BRO-BSN
Monte Irvin          21.4 1919  764 1949 1956 30
-37 *793/H58                 NYG-CHC
Larry Eschen         
-0.3 1920   12 1942 1942 21-21     *6H4                     PHA
Dick Adams           
-0.2 1920   37 1947 1947 27-27    *3H97                     PHA
Val Heim             
-0.1 1920   13 1942 1942 21-21     *79H                     CHW
Pat McGlothin        
-0.1 1920    8 1949 1950 28-29       *1                     BRO
Jean
-Pierre Roy      -0.0 1920    3 1946 1946 26-26       *1                     BRO
Eddie Robinson       15.0 1920 1315 1942 1957 21
-36      *3H CLE-WSH-CHW-PHA-NYY-TOT
Wally Westlake       15.1 1920  958 1947 1956 26
-35   987H/5         PIT-TOT-CLE-PHI 
   22. DavidFoss Posted: April 24, 2014 at 11:17 PM (#4693742)
Monte Irvin played for the Newark Eagles as early as 1938.
   23. Russ Posted: April 24, 2014 at 11:20 PM (#4693743)
I googled Fred Caligiuiri because I've only ever heard that last name attached to people from Western Pennsylvania. And lo and behold, he's from Forest County. Then I google the last name only and there are a million Caligiuiri's from all over.

Life is weird.
   24. DanG Posted: April 24, 2014 at 11:34 PM (#4693749)
I ran a project recently to determine which players deserved to be in the HOF from each birth year. These are the players who I listed as the top candidates born in 1911:

Josh Gibson
Hank Greenberg
Joe Medwick
Frank McCormick
Buck O'Neil
Van Mungo
Connie Marrero

When someone questioned the inclusion of Marrero on the list I gave this answer:

Marrero is an overlooked Cuban star who was held out of MLB due to his heritage, if not his color. In his prime he was unquestionably an all-star caliber pitcher, IMO. At ages 40-42 he posted a 117 ERA+ in 517 IP for Washington.

   25. Russlan is fond of Dillon Gee Posted: April 24, 2014 at 11:47 PM (#4693751)
His birthday was April 25th. That's kind of interesting.
   26. ajnrules Posted: April 25, 2014 at 01:40 AM (#4693788)
Interestingly enough, Fred Caligiuri is the opposing starter in Lefty Grove's final big league start. He ended up getting the win as Ol' Mose only lasted one inning in his final game. It was one of only two career wins in Caligiuri's career, and he remains the only living pitcher to record a decision against Lefty Grove.
   27. Sunday silence Posted: April 25, 2014 at 02:40 AM (#4693795)

I googled Fred Caligiuiri because I've only ever heard that last name attached to people from Western Pennsylvania. And lo and behold, he's from Forest County. Then I google the last name only and there are a million Caligiuiri's from all over.


That's exactly what I thought of. There's a guy Frank Caliguri who ran a Karate studio back there. And wasnt Dick Caliguri the mayor of Pittsburgh? Maybe there's more of them around we just dont realize it..
   28. RMc is a fine piece of cheese Posted: April 25, 2014 at 07:55 AM (#4693814)
If Babe Ruth had lived as long as Marrero did, he would've been alive to see the Devil Rays and Diamondbacks play in 1998.

I hate myself for being this pedantic, but this is not quite true.


I actually double-checked this, and in fact Ruth would've missed it by couple of months. But then I figured, "Eh, nobody's gonna notice." Wrong again.

A child born today who lives as long as Marrero will live to see to see Opening Day of 2117 season. (Which will be held on Mars, featuring the Dodgers and their traditional rivals the Tokyo Giants, with Vin Scullybot 4.0 giving the play-by-play.)
   29. Greg K Posted: April 25, 2014 at 08:05 AM (#4693816)
In one of his columns from that approximate time period - long after he "officially retired" from the Washington Post, Povich wrote about going down to the docks in Maine as a boy to get the morning Boston papers for the World Series results since that was before radio. Live long, see a lot.

I sometimes wonder what will be my thing about my youth that will amaze the young folks (and probably me) when I'm 75.

When I was a kid we couldn't use the phone and the internet at the same time!
When I was a kid Canada was an independent nation!
When I was a kid the Blue Jays won the World Series...TWICE!
   30. Random Transaction Generator Posted: April 25, 2014 at 08:11 AM (#4693817)
The last living Federal League (1914-1915) player to pass away was Edd Roush in 1988.
I was alive when the last Milwaukee Brewer (1901-1902, before becoming the St. Louis Browns) passed away: George McBride in 1973.

I haven't gotten around to updating my "Last Man Standing" lists since November.
   31. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: April 25, 2014 at 08:15 AM (#4693820)
Marrero is an overlooked Cuban star who was held out of MLB due to his heritage, if not his color. In his prime he was unquestionably an all-star caliber pitcher, IMO. At ages 40-42 he posted a 117 ERA+ in 517 IP for Washington.

Except that Marrero was white, and the Senators had scouts in Cuba well before 1947. His talent may have been overlooked by Major League scouts for most of his career, but it wasn't because of prejudice.
   32. Random Transaction Generator Posted: April 25, 2014 at 09:02 AM (#4693834)
When I was a kid we couldn't use the phone and the internet at the same time!
When I was a kid Canada was an independent nation!
When I was a kid the Blue Jays won the World Series...TWICE!


Phones had cords and were attached to walls.
I watched live TV, and there were only 5 stations (CBC/CTV/ABC/NBC/CBS) and you were lucky if you could pick up all of them.
People used Encyclopaedia Britannica and Guinness Book of World Records to find out answers to questions.


   33. Misirlou's been working for the drug squad Posted: April 25, 2014 at 09:10 AM (#4693837)
When I was a kid, it had been only 60 years (give or take) since the Cubs had won the WS.
   34. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: April 25, 2014 at 09:22 AM (#4693848)
When I was a kid, the butter trust forced margarine to be sold in large plastic bags that you'd have to squeeze in order to distribute the yellow dye that was contained in a little thin pouch inside. I was also alive (barely) when the Cubs were in the World Series, the Cleveland Rams were NFL champions, and the NBA didn't exist, but all that almost seems normal compared to that truly weird margarine kit.
   35. Bitter Mouse Posted: April 25, 2014 at 09:40 AM (#4693867)
the butter trust


My mom tells me about how they would essentially smuggle margarine into Wisconsin back in the day.

I don't think the technology ones are strange, but the societal ones are. When I was born many schools were not integrated, interracial marriage was illegal in many places, to say nothing of same sex marriages.

Watching Mad Men, especially the early few seasons, is a very amusing look into the earlier age. Kids climbing around the car without seat belts or car seats was one that struck me. Off course as a youth we would ride in the back of my friend's Mom's open toyota pickup truck for fairly long highway trips, so yeah, times change.
   36. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: April 25, 2014 at 09:56 AM (#4693879)
I don't think the technology ones are strange, but the societal ones are. When I was born many schools were not integrated, interracial marriage was illegal in many places,

My black GF and I got tons of #### at Duke when we first started going out in 1963, to the point where we'd sometimes have to go over to North Carolina College to find a sanctuary. Within a few short years, however, we'd catch more grief over at NCC than we would back at Duke. Within certain limited social settings (which is an important qualification), the transformation of the racial dynamic between 1962 and 1967 was like witnessing an entire half century compressed into five short years. I don't know of any technology in my lifetime this side of the atom bomb that's made for so abrupt a transformation within that short of a time frame.
   37. Random Transaction Generator Posted: April 25, 2014 at 10:49 AM (#4693922)
I don't know of any technology in my lifetime this side of the atom bomb that's made for so abrupt a transformation within that short of a time frame.


The time frame might be a little longer than 5 years, but the internet has flipped the world on its head.
Commerce, communication (personal and mass), information (distribution and availability), entertainment (viewing and creating)

My mom said that it blows her mind that she can watch (and talk to) her granddaughter play in her crib on her tablet while sitting on a cruise ship over 3000km away.
She talks about how her mom didn't see her grandchild (me) for a whole year at a time because they lived a plane ride away.
   38. RMc is a fine piece of cheese Posted: April 25, 2014 at 06:21 PM (#4694511)
the transformation of the racial dynamic between 1962 and 1967 was like witnessing an entire half century compressed into five short years.


It wasn't that long ago a fella could get fired for being in favour of gay marriage!
   39. DanG Posted: April 26, 2014 at 11:21 PM (#4695090)
Except that Marrero was white, and the Senators had scouts in Cuba well before 1947. His talent may have been overlooked by Major League scouts for most of his career, but it wasn't because of prejudice.
Well, if only one of the 16 MLB clubs was open to Cubans before WW-II, that certainly limited the opportunity for players like Marrero. Also, the Senators didn't really "have scouts in Cuba" before WW-II; more accurate to say that they "knew a guy". That guy was Joe Cambria. Although he would later sign such players as Camilo Pascual, Zoilo Versalles and Tony Oliva, before WW-II his top find was Bobby Estalella. (Estalella could really play but saw his opportunities limited because his features suggested a partial African lineage.) Marrero was apparently white enough but he was undeniably foreign in every way. There seems to be little doubt that he would have been in MLB long before 1950 if he had been all-American rather than Cuban.

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