Sunday, April 29, 2012

Pic of the Week

Conrado Marrero is about a year older than Fenway Park.
Conrado "Connie" Marrero turned 101 on Wednesday. The dimunitive Cuban —listed as 5-foot-5 and less than 160 pounds in his playing days — is the oldest living ex-major leaguer.

The Associated Press moved a story on his career and current status; read it here.

He came to the mainland in 1950, at age 39, and pitched for the Washington Senators — the forerunners of the Twins — for five seasons. The Senators were not a good team, and Marrero was almost certainly past his prime, but he still ran off a 39-40 record and was named to an All-Star team.

He was part of the Senators' Cuban connection. The Griffiths had a scout named Joe Cambria, who funneled players from Cuba to Washington in quantity until Fidel Castro put an end to it. Cambria is the reason the team arrived in Minnesota with so many Cubans on the major league roster and in their minors — Camilo Pasqual, Pedro Ramos, Zoilo Versalles, Tony Oliva, Julio Becquer ...

That pipeline is long since shut off, of course. By the end of the 1950s the Cincinnati Reds had established a significant presence on the island also (garnering the likes of Tony Perez, Mike Cuellar and Leo Cardenas in the process), ending the Senators' monopoly, and then Castro closed the island.

Cuba still produces a wealth of talent, but only dribbles of it reach these shores now. And what does arrive doesn't don Twins uniforms.

No comments:

Post a Comment