Cuba s Baseball Defectors

Cuba s Baseball Defectors Author Peter C. Bjarkman
ISBN-10 9781442247994
Release 2016-05-12
Pages 386
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The stellar play and fascinating backstories of exiled Cuban sluggers and hurlers in Major League Baseball (MLB) has become one of the biggest headlines in America's national pastime. On-field exploits by colorful Dodgers outfielder Yasiel Puig, American League rookie-of-the-year José Abreu, home run derby champion Yoenis Céspedes, radar-gun busting Cincinnati fast-baller Aroldis Chapman, and a handful of others have been further enhanced by feel-good tales of desperate Cuban superstars risking their lives to escape Fidel Castro’s communist realm and chase a celebrated American Dream of financial and athletic success. But a truly ugly underbelly to this story has also slowly emerged, one that involves human smuggling operations financed by Miami crime syndicates, operated by Mexican drug cartels, and conveniently ignored by big league ball clubs endlessly searching for fresh waves of international talent. In Cuba’s Baseball Defectors: The Inside Story, Cuban baseball expert Peter C. Bjarkman reveals the complete truth behind the wave of Cuban big league talent coming to MLB. Given rare access to Cuba and its ballplayers, Bjarkman has spent over twenty years traveling to all corners of the island getting to know the top Cuban stars and witnessing their baseball struggles and triumphs. In this book, Bjarkman places recent events—including the apparent thaw in US-Cuba relations—in the context of Cuban baseball history and tradition before delving into the stories of the major Cuban stars who have left the island. He reveals the personal histories of these players, explains the events that led them to eventually choose defection from their homeland, and details their harrowing journeys to reach US shores and achieve baseball stardom. Players whose big league dreams failed are also discussed, as are Cuba’s recent efforts to stem the defection tide through working agreements with the Japanese and Mexican leagues. Unique in its balanced perspective of Cuban baseball and its star players, Cuba’s Baseball Defectors not only shares the author’s first-hand account of many previously misreported events, it also provides a view of the illegal smuggling of ballplayers from the perspective of Cuban baseball officials whose voices have often not been heard. With a conclusion outlining a likely scenario for future relations between Major League Baseball and the Cuban League, this book will fascinate baseball fans, those interested in the history of US-Cuba relations, and those wanting to learn more about the unsavory story of human trafficking in the name of baseball glory.



Full Count

Full Count Author Milton H. Jamail
ISBN-10 0809323109
Release 2000
Pages 182
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In his comprehensive and vibrant picture of baseball in Cuba, Milton H. Jamail explores the sport’s relationship to U.S. baseball. Jamail, whose personal love of the game matches that of the Cubans, examines the roots and traditions of baseball on the island and explains why Cubans play such excellent baseball. His analysis of the development of Cuban baseball after the 1959 takeover by Fidel Castro includes a detailed description of the formation of the Cuban amateur baseball system that has dominated international competitions for more than three decades. Before 1961, when the U.S. government severed diplomatic relations with Cuba and Castro abolished professional baseball, Cuba provided the bulk of the foreign players in the major leagues (more than one hundred since the color barrier was lifted in 1947). Major league interest in Cuban baseball remains high, Jamail notes, as he examines the changes necessary, both in the United States and Cuba, to return Cuban ballplayers to professional baseball in the United States. He discusses Cuban defectors, including Liván Hernández, and describes the intrigue surrounding agent Joe Cubas’s courting of Cuban players and his attempts to spirit them away when the Cuban national team plays outside the country. An academic trained in Latin American politics, Jamail has spent twelve years as a Spanish-speaking journalist writing about Latinos and baseball. To write this book, he conducted extensive interviews with baseball officials, journalists, players, and fans in Cuba, as well as Cuban players who have defected. He also talked to scouts and front office people from U.S. baseball organizations.



The Duke of Havana

The Duke of Havana Author Steve Fainaru
ISBN-10 9780375506697
Release 2001-06-01
Pages 368
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In 1998, a mysterious right-handed pitcher emerged from the ashes of the Cold War and helped lead the New York Yankees to a World Championship. His origins and even his age were uncertain. His name was Orlando El Duque Hernandez. He was a fallen hero of Fidel Castro's socialist revolution. The chronicle of El Duque's triumph is at once a window into the slow death of Cuban socialism and one of the most remarkable sports stories of all time. Once hailed as a paragon of Castro's revolution, the finest pitcher in modern Cuban history was banned from baseball for life for allegedly plotting to defect. Instead of accepting his punishment, he fearlessly fought back, defying the Communist party authorities, vowing to pitch again, and ultimately fleeing his country in the bowels of a thirty-foot fishing boat. Here, for the first time and in astonishing detail, the secrets behind El Duque's persecution and escape are revealed. Moving from the crumbling streets of post Cold War Havana to the polarized world of exile Miami, from the deadly Florida Straits to the hallowed grounds of Yankee Stadium, it is a story of cloak-and-dagger adventure, audacious secret plots, the pull of big money, and the historic collision of ideologies. Present throughout are the larger-than-life characters who converged at this bizarre intersection of baseball and politics: El Duque himself, Fidel Castro, the Miami sports agent Joe Cubas, the late John Cardinal O'Connor along with scouts, smugglers, and the Cuban ballplayers who gave up their lives as tools of socialism to test the free market and chase their major-league dreams. Reported in the United States and Cuba by two award-winning journalists who became part of the story they were covering, The Duke of Havana is a riveting saga of sports, politics, liberation, and greed.



Game Seven

Game Seven Author Paul Volponi
ISBN-10 9781101621547
Release 2015-03-10
Pages 256
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My name is Julio Ramirez Jr. and baseball is my whole life. Since he was ten, Julio has lived in the shadow of his famous father. Not just because Julio Senior is a pitcher for the Miami Marlins, but because he fled Cuba to play professional baseball, leaving his Julio and his mother and sister branded as the family of a traitor. Now sixteen, Julio dreams of playing for Cuba’s national team—until he finds out his father's defection may destroy his chances. When he’s given the opportunity to flee Cuba, he has to make the toughest choice of his life. Can he abandon his family, just like his Papi did? Will freedom be worth the perilous journey and risking prison if he’s caught? Will his Papi be waiting for him on the other shore—or, with the Marlins in the World Series against the Yankees, has Julio Senior forgotten about his son? Set against the backdrop of the Series on which everything depends, Game Seven is a suspenseful story of loyalty, survival, and baseball.



Pitching Around Fidel

Pitching Around Fidel Author S.L. Price
ISBN-10 9780060934927
Release 2002-02-05
Pages 288
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Examines the sports practices and athletes of today's Cuba, noting how the nation's famed sports machine, under the weight of a depression, is self-destructing, as identified through the case stories of such figures as Orlando Hernandez, Rey Ordo±ex, and Teofilo Stevenson. Reprint. 15,000 first printing.



The Pride of Havana

The Pride of Havana Author Roberto Gonzalez Echevarria
ISBN-10 0195349172
Release 2001-05-24
Pages 512
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From the first amateur leagues of the 1860s to the exploits of Livan and Orlando "El Duque" Hernandez, here is the definitive history of baseball in Cuba. Roberto Gonzalez Echevarria expertly traces the arc of the game, intertwining its heroes and their stories with the politics, music, dance, and literature of the Cuban people. What emerges is more than a story of balls and strikes, but a richly detailed history of Cuba told from the unique cultural perch of the baseball diamond. Filling a void created by Cuba's rejection of bullfighting and Spanish hegemony, baseball quickly became a crucial stitch in the complex social fabric of the island. By the early 1940s Cuba had become major conduit in spreading the game throughout Latin America, and a proving ground for some of the greatest talent in all of baseball, where white major leaguers and Negro League players from the U.S. all competed on the same fields with the cream of Latin talent. Indeed, readers will be introduced to several black ballplayers of Afro-Cuban descent who played in the Major Leagues before Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier once and for all. Often dramatic, and always culturally resonant, Gonzalez Echevarria's narrative expertly lays open the paradox of fierce Cuban independence from the U.S. with Cuba's love for our national pastime. It shows how Fidel Castro cannily associated himself with the sport for patriotic p.r.--and reveals that his supposed baseball talent is purely mythical. Based on extensive primary research and a wealth of interviews, the colorful, often dramatic anecdotes and stories in this distinguished book comprise the most comprehensive history of Cuban baseball yet published and ultimately adds a vital lost chapter to the history of baseball in the U.S.



Smart Baseball

Smart Baseball Author Keith Law
ISBN-10 9780062490254
Release 2017-04-25
Pages 304
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Predictably Irrational meets Moneyball in ESPN veteran writer and statistical analyst Keith Law’s iconoclastic look at the numbers game of baseball, proving why some of the most trusted stats are surprisingly wrong, explaining what numbers actually work, and exploring what the rise of Big Data means for the future of the sport. For decades, statistics such as batting average, saves recorded, and pitching won-lost records have been used to measure individual players’ and teams’ potential and success. But in the past fifteen years, a revolutionary new standard of measurement—sabermetrics—has been embraced by front offices in Major League Baseball and among fantasy baseball enthusiasts. But while sabermetrics is recognized as being smarter and more accurate, traditionalists, including journalists, fans, and managers, stubbornly believe that the "old" way—a combination of outdated numbers and "gut" instinct—is still the best way. Baseball, they argue, should be run by people, not by numbers.? In this informative and provocative book, teh renowned ESPN analyst and senior baseball writer demolishes a century’s worth of accepted wisdom, making the definitive case against the long-established view. Armed with concrete examples from different eras of baseball history, logic, a little math, and lively commentary, he shows how the allegiance to these numbers—dating back to the beginning of the professional game—is firmly rooted not in accuracy or success, but in baseball’s irrational adherence to tradition. While Law gores sacred cows, from clutch performers to RBIs to the infamous save rule, he also demystifies sabermetrics, explaining what these "new" numbers really are and why they’re vital. He also considers the game’s future, examining how teams are using Data—from PhDs to sophisticated statistical databases—to build future rosters; changes that will transform baseball and all of professional sports.



The Domino Diaries

The Domino Diaries Author Brin-Jonathan Butler
ISBN-10 9781250043719
Release 2015-06-09
Pages 304
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A powerful and lively work of immersive journalism, Brin-Jonathan Butler's story of his time chasing the American dream through Cuba Whether he's hustling his way into Mike Tyson's mansion for an interview, betting his life savings on a boxing match (against the favorite), becoming romantically entangled with one of Fidel Castro's granddaughters, or simply manufacturing press credentials to go where he wants—Brin-Jonathan Butler has always been the "act first, ask permission later" kind of journalist. This book is the culmination of Butler's decade spent in the trenches of Havana, trying to understand a culture perplexing to Westerners: one whose elite athletes regularly forgo multimillion-dollar opportunities to stay in Cuba and box for their country, while living in penury. Butler's fascination with this distinctly Cuban idealism sets him off on a remarkable journey, training with, befriending, and interviewing the champion boxers that Cuba seems to produce more than any other country. In the process, though, Butler gets to know the landscape of the exhilaratingly warm Cuban culture—and starts to question where he feels most at home. In the tradition of Michael Lewis and John Jeremiah Sullivan, Butler is a keen and humane storyteller, and the perfect guide for this riotous tour through the streets of Havana.



Latino Stars in Major League Baseball

Latino Stars in Major League Baseball Author Jonathan Weeks
ISBN-10 9781442281738
Release 2017-06-16
Pages 300
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Some of the best players in Major League Baseball were born outside the United States, with Latino players representing one of the fastest growing ethnicities in the league. Current and former stars such as Albert Pujols, Rod Carew, and Miguel Cabrera all found incredible success in MLB. They have won major awards, guided their teams to the postseason, played in All-Star games, and an elite few have been enshrined in the Baseball Hall of Fame. Latino Stars in Major League Baseball: From Bobby Abreu to Carlos Zambrano celebrates the ever-increasing diversity of baseball in America. It includes more than 140 in-depth profiles of retired and active ballplayers representing countries across Latin America and the Caribbean. For many of these players, the road to “The Show” wasn’t easy—discrimination, poverty, language barriers, and government restrictions are major obstacles that Latino players have faced in the past and continue to face today. Author Jonathan Weeks covers these struggles and more in the profiles, showing the players’ strength, resiliency, and ultimately, their rise to the top of professional baseball. Latino Stars in Major League Baseball is a definitive collection of the best and brightest Latino stars both past and present. Full of colorful anecdotes and inspiring stories, this book provides a rich understanding of Latino players’ impact on baseball in the United States.



A History of Cuban Baseball 1864 2006

A History of Cuban Baseball  1864 2006 Author Peter C. Bjarkman
ISBN-10 0786493828
Release 2014-06-17
Pages 490
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Major League Baseball's 2006 World Baseball Classic shocked an international audience when an amateur team from Cuba met Japan in San Diego for the sport's first true world championship. But those who had paid attention to international tournaments were hardly surprised by Cuba's showing against all-star teams of American, Puerto Rican, Dominican, and Venezuelan professionals. Cuban national teams have now reached the finals of 38 consecutive major world tournaments, won better than 90 per cent of their international contests since 1939, repeatedly beaten U.S. all-stars at the avowed American national game, and reigned for more than half a century as undisputed champions of global baseball. In this ground-breaking book, expert Peter Bjarkman follows the full arc of Cuban baseball history, including close coverage of the nearly five decades since the Sugar Kings' ejection from the International League. Dispelling the mystery and disinformation that surround Cuba, its leader, and its teams, early and late, Bjarkman gives us the first truly balanced history of baseball on the Caribbean island.



The Empire Strikes Out

The Empire Strikes Out Author Robert Elias
ISBN-10 9781595585288
Release 2010-01-19
Pages 448
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Is the face of American baseball throughout the world that of goodwill ambassador or ugly American? Has baseball crafted its own image or instead been at the mercy of broader forces shaping our society and the globe? The Empire Strikes Out gives us the sweeping story of how baseball and America are intertwined in the export of “the American way.” From the Civil War to George W. Bush and the Iraq War, we see baseball’s role in developing the American empire, first at home and then beyond our shores. And from Albert Spalding and baseball’s first World Tour to Bud Selig and the World Baseball Classic, we witness the globalization of America’s national pastime and baseball’s role in spreading the American dream. Besides describing baseball’s frequent and often surprising connections to America’s presence around the world, Elias assesses the effects of this relationship both on our foreign policies and on the sport itself and asks whether baseball can play a positive role or rather only reinforce America’s dominance around the globe. Like Franklin Foer in How Soccer Explains the World, Elias is driven by compelling stories, unusual events, and unique individuals. His seamless integration of original research and compelling analysis makes this a baseball book that’s about more than just sports.



Castro s Secrets

Castro s Secrets Author Brian Latell
ISBN-10 9781137000019
Release 2012-04-24
Pages 288
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In CASTRO'S SECRETS, highly acclaimed author and intelligence expert Brian Latell offers a strikingly original view of Fidel Castro in his role as Cuba's supreme spymaster. Based on interviews with high level defectors from Cuba's powerful intelligence and security services, long-buried secrets of Fidel's nearly 50-year reign are exposed for the first time. They include numerous assassinations and attempted ones carried out on Castro's orders, some against foreign leaders. More than a dozen ranking Cuban secret agents embraced by the CIA and FBI speak in these pages; some have never told their stories on the record before. Latell also probes dispassionately into the CIA's most deplorable plots against Cuba - including previously obscure schemes to assassinate Castro - and presents shocking new conclusions about what Fidel actually knew of Lee Harvey Oswald prior to the assassination of John F. Kennedy.



A Cuban Boxer s Journey

A Cuban Boxer s Journey Author Brin-Jonathan Butler
ISBN-10 9781250044709
Release 2014-06-03
Pages 192
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THE STORY OF CUBAN BOXER AND POLITICAL PARIAH GUILLERMO RIGONDEAUX'S HARROWING DECISION TO DEFECT IN HOPES OF REAPING THE REWARDS OF THE AMERICAN DREAM "What is one million dollars compared to the love of eight million Cubans?" This was the question posed by legendary boxer Teofilo Stevenson in the 1970s, crowned by many as the Muhammad Ali of Cuba, in response to an offer of five million dollars to leave his island to fight Ali. But not all Cubans have come to the same conclusion, let alone with such apparent ease. Guillermo Rigondeaux, two-time Olympic champion and heir to Stevenson's throne, sacrificed everything he had in his home country—his wife, his son, his government-subsidized car and house, as well as universal reverence among his fellow citizens—to try to make it in the mecca of big-money boxing, the United States of America. But has the chance to make good in America been worth the loss of his national identity and the love of his countrymen? And to what extent has he been corrupted by the promise of untold riches? In A Cuban Boxer's Journey, author, filmmaker, and journalist Brin-Jonathan Butler chronicles the fascinating and tumultuous career of Rigondeaux—moody, driven, and almost mythically talented––as he attempts to capture the elusive and often punishing American dream. See how this athlete's most daunting challenge becomes how he can survive the complex forces outside of the ring.



Cuba After Castro

Cuba After Castro Author Edward Gonzalez
ISBN-10 9780833036179
Release 2004-06-29
Pages 152
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When the end of the Castro era arrives, the successor government and the Cuban people will need to answer certain questions: How is Castro's more than four-decade rule likely to affect a post-Castro Cuba? What will be the political, social, and economic challenges Cuba will confront? What are the impediments to Cuba's economic development and democratic transition? The authors examine Castro's political legacies, Cuba's generational and racial divisions, its demographic predicament, the legacy of a centralized economy, and the need for industrial restructuring.



Cuba Straits

Cuba Straits Author Randy Wayne White
ISBN-10 9780698184350
Release 2015-03-24
Pages 336
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The remarkable new novel in the Doc Ford series by New York Times–bestselling author Randy Wayne White. Doc Ford’s old friend, General Juan Garcia, has gone into the lucrative business of smuggling Cuban baseball players into the U.S. He is also feasting on profits made by buying historical treasures for pennies on the dollar. He prefers what dealers call HPC items—high-profile collectibles—but when he manages to obtain a collection of letters written by Fidel Castro between 1960–62 to a secret girlfriend, it’s not a matter of money anymore. Garcia has stumbled way out of his depth. First Garcia disappears, and then the man to whom he sold the letters. When Doc Ford begins to investigate, he soon becomes convinced that those letters contain a secret that someone, or some powerful agency, cannot allow to be made public. A lot happened between Cuba and the United States from 1960–62. Many men died. A few more will hardly be noticed. From the Hardcover edition.



Bluegrass Baseball

Bluegrass Baseball Author Katya Cengel
ISBN-10 9780803244559
Release 2012-07-15
Pages 275
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Forget the steroid-addled, overpaid, and unmotivated players: America's pastime is still alive and well, and is still the heartfelt sport it's always been--in the Minor Leagues. And nowhere is this truer than in Kentucky, whose rich baseball history continues to play out in the four teams profiled in this book. Following these teams through the 2010 season--the triumphs, struggles, and big league hopes and dreams--the book tells the larger story of baseball in America's smaller venues, where the game in its purest form is still valued and warmly embraced. The story begins before the season with.



Ahead of the Curve

Ahead of the Curve Author Brian Kenny
ISBN-10 9781501106354
Release 2017-07-04
Pages 368
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MLB Network host and commentator Brian Kenny uses stories from baseball's present and past to examine why we sometimes choose ignorance over information, and how tradition can trump logic, even when directly contradicted by evidence.