Fidel Castro and Cuban baseball
Hundreds of Cuban students with a slogan against the then President Fulgencio Batista screamed and suddenly seized a stadium in the capital Havana. They interrupted a baseball league game in this country.
Moments later, a young law student named Fidel Castro grabbed the ball and made several throws. The young man then met up with future American professional baseball player Don Hoak before leaving the field.
That was in 1951, eight years before the Cuban Revolution led by Fidel Castro overthrew the Batista government. This fascinating story is repeated many times and has various anecdotes.
Since baseball was introduced in the 1992 Summer Olympics, the Cuban national team has won 3 Gold and 2 Silver medals. The team also played spectacularly in the World Classic tournament and won 25 gold medals in 29 times participating in this tournament.
Antonio Tony Gonzalez, one of the famous Cuban athletes commented: Mr. Fidel Castro’s influence on baseball is huge. Antonio Gonzalez said that, under the leader Fidel Castro, Cuban baseball in the golden era.
“We won the world many times, we won the Pan – American championship. We even won against strong teams like America even though they have very good players, ”said Antonio Gonzalez.
However, the best players left the Cuban team to play for the best teams in America. Before this phenomenon, in 1960, baseball players were banned from playing for teams outside the island nation.
And those who switched to compete for teams in the US with contracts millions of dollars were considered “deserter”. They were banned from returning to Cuba.
Now, Antonio Castro is Vice President of the International Baseball Federation. He loosened this rule in the hope that it would retain the country’s talent.
Cuban players are allowed to sign foreign teams as long as they continue to play for the national team. Their salary is also increased by 20 times compared to before.