Since the early 1900s, Cuban baseball players have made a significant impact in Major League Baseball (MLB). In recent years, the number of Cuban players in MLB has declined as more players retire. These athletes have thrilled fans over the years with their skills and athleticism on the baseball diamond. Many of them went on to successful careers in Major League Baseball, while others became stars in other professional leagues.
It’s time to recognize some of the retired Cuban baseball players. In this article, we try to share about them and their overall stats. So, let’s get started with it.
There is no doubt that Cuba has produced some of the best baseball players in the world. Many of them have gone on to have successful careers in Major League Baseball. However, there are also a number of Cuban players who have retired from the game.
Here are 10 of the best retired Cuban baseball players:
1. Luis Tiant
Baseball fans know the name Louis Tiant. Tiant was one of the first casualties of Fidel Castro’s regime in Cuba. The Cuban-born pitcher played for several teams in the MLB, including the Cleveland Indians and Boston Red Sox. His career was full of highlights, including a World Series win with the Red Sox in 1975.
After retiring from baseball in 1982, Tiant worked as a pitching coach and broadcaster. In 1998, he was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame. His son, Lewis Jr., also became a professional pitcher.
What fans don’t know is that Tiant got banned from playing baseball in Cuba. He signed with an American team without permission from the Cuban government. He was eventually allowed to return to Cuba and play for his home team, but by then, his best years were behind him.
|Born Place||Marianao, Cuba|
|Born Date||November 23, 1940|
|Playing Period||July 19, 1964 – September 4, 1982|
|Team||Cleveland Indians (1964–1969)Minnesota Twins (1970)Boston Red Sox (1971–1978)New York Yankees (1979–1980)Pittsburgh Pirates (1981)California Angels (1982)|
|Achievements||3× All-Star (1968, 1974, 1976)2× AL ERA leader (1968, 1972)Boston Red Sox Hall of Fame|
2. Rafael Palmeiro
When you think of Cuban baseball players, Rafael Palmeiro will come to mind. He is one of the most successful players to come out of Cuba. Rafael was considered by many to be one of the best first basemen in MLB history.
Palmeiro spent most of his career with the Baltimore Orioles and Texas Rangers and was a key part of both teams’ success. He was a three-time All-Star and five-time Silver Slugger winner. Palmeiro played in at least 152 games every year except two from 1988-2004. He was on pace to do the same at age 40, and in 2005 he was also named MVP of the American League Championship Series.
But Palmeiro is perhaps best known for his controversial career moments. He was suspended twice during his career for positive drug tests, once in 2005 for using steroids and again in 2007 for using a banned diuretic. Despite this suspension, Palmeiro insists he has never used performance-enhancing drugs.
|Born Place||Havana, Cuba|
|Born Date||September 24, 1964|
|Playing Period||September 8, 1986 – August 30, 2005|
|Team||Chicago Cubs (1986–1988)Texas Rangers (1989–1993)Baltimore Orioles (1994–1998)Texas Rangers (1999–2003)Baltimore Orioles (2004–2005)|
|Achievements||4× All-Star (1988, 1991, 1998, 1999)3× Gold Glove Award (1997–1999)2× Silver Slugger Award (1998, 1999)|
|Position||First Baseman and Leftfielder|
3. Tony Oliva
One of the best players to come out of Cuba was Tony Oliva. He made his mark in the MLB playing for the Minnesota Twins in the early 1960s. He was a speedy outfielder with a powerful bat, and he quickly became one of the most popular players in the league.
Tony Oliva continued to play for the Twins until 1976 when he was traded to the Oakland Athletics. He finished his career with the Chicago White Sox and Baltimore Orioles. He was a three-time All-Star and won two Gold Gloves and a Silver Slugger Award. But never winning a World Series, Oliver had a career average of .304 and led the American League in hits five times.
After retirement, Oliva returned to Cuba. Currently serving as the coach of the Cuban national team. He is also playing an important role in training the next generation of Cuban baseball players.
|Born Place||Pinar del Río, Cuba|
|Born Date||July 20, 1938|
|Playing Period||September 9, 1962 – September 29, 1976|
|Team||Minnesota Twins (1962–1976)|
|Achievements||8× All-Star (1964–1971)2× World Series champion (1987, 1991)AL Rookie of the Year (1964)Gold Glove Award (1966)3× AL batting champion (1964, 1965, 1971)Minnesota Twins No. 6 retired Minnesota Twins Hall of Fame|
4. Jose Canseco
Jose Canseco is one of the most controversial figures in baseball history, but there’s no denying that he was an incredible player. Canseco was a six-time All-Star and won two World Series titles with the Oakland Athletics.
He was also the first player to hit 40 home runs and steal 40 bases in a season, was the 1988 American League MVP, and didn’t play more than 91 games in any of his last six seasons, as incredible as he was at his peak.
Canseco’s career ended abruptly in 2001 when he was released by the Chicago White Sox. Tried a comeback with various teams but was never able to stay in the majors again.
|Born Place||Havana, Cuba|
|Born Date||July 2, 1964|
|Playing Period||September 2, 1985 – October 6, 2001|
|Team||Oakland Athletics (1985–1992)Texas Rangers (1992–1994)Boston Red Sox (1995–1996)Oakland Athletics (1997)Toronto Blue Jays (1998)Tampa Bay Devil Rays (1999–2000)New York Yankees (2000)Chicago White Sox (2001)|
6× All-Star (1986, 1988–1990, 1992, 1999)2× World Series champion (1989, 2000)AL MVP (1988)AL Rookie of the Year (1986)4× Silver Slugger Award (1988, 1990, 1991, 1998)2× MLB home run leader (1988, 1991)MLB RBI leader (1988)
|Position||Outfielder and Designated hitter|
5. Minnie Minoso
Minnie Minoso was one of the greatest retired Cuban baseball players. Played for the White Sox, Indians, and Senators during his 17-year career. Minoso was a seven-time All-Star and won three Gold Glove Awards.
He ranks 37th on the all-time home run leaders list with 462. He also holds the all-time record for forehead fielding. In 2000, he was inducted into the Cuban Sports Hall of Fame.
|Born Place||Perico, Cuba|
|Born Date||November 29, 1923|
|Playing Period||1947 – 1980|
|Team||Cleveland Indians (1949, 1951)Chicago White Sox (1951–1957)Cleveland Indians (1958–1959)Chicago White Sox (1960–1961)St. Louis Cardinals (1962), Washington Senators (1963), Chicago White Sox (1964, 1976, 1980)|
|Achievements||2x NgL All-Star (1947–1948)9× All-Star (1951–1954, 1957, 1959–1960²)Negro World Series champion (1947)3× Gold Glove Award (1957, 1959, 1960)3× AL stolen base leader (1951–1953)Chicago White Sox No. 9 retired|
6. Bert Campaneris
Campaneris, who was born in Cuba in 1941, played for the Athletics, Royals, Yankees, and Angels during his career. He was a six-time All-Star, winning three World Series championships with Oakland. Campaneris played nine positions in single games. But he pitched left-handed against left-handed hitters and right-handed against right-handers. Best known as the first player.
Although he was not the most successful player on the field, Campaneris was an important figure in baseball history. His legacy continues to this day, and he is often cited as an inspiration to current players.
|Born Place||Pueblo Nuevo, Cuba|
|Born Date||March 9, 1942|
|Playing Period||July 23, 1964 – October 1, 1983|
|Team||Kansas City / Oakland Athletics (1964–1976)Texas Rangers (1977–1979)California Angels (1979–1981)New York Yankees (1983)|
|Achievements||6× All-Star (1968, 1972–1975, 1977)3× World Series champion (1972–1974)6× AL stolen base leader (1965–1968, 1970, 1972)Athletics Hall of Fame|
7. Livan Hernandez
You’re probably familiar with Livan Hernandez. He is a retired Cuban baseball player who enjoyed an impressive career in the MLB. Livan played for teams such as the Marlins, the Twins, the Nationals, and the Giants.
What you may not know is that Livan actually holds the record for the most complete games in a season. He achieved this incredible feat in 2005 when he played for the Washington Nationals. Hernandez won the Most Valuable Player award in both the NL Championship Series and World Series in 1997. Also threw more than 200 innings in eight consecutive seasons. In total, Livan won 194 games in his career and was selected to play in two All-Star games.
|Born Place||Villa Clara, Cuba|
|Born Date||February 20, 1975|
|Playing Period||September 24, 1996 – September 29, 2012|
|Teams||Florida Marlins (1996–1999)San Francisco Giants (1999–2002)Montreal Expos / Washington Nationals (2003–2006)Arizona Diamondbacks (2006–2007)Minnesota Twins (2008)Colorado Rockies (2008)New York Mets (2009)Washington Nationals (2009–2011)Atlanta Braves (2012)Milwaukee Brewers (2012)|
|Achievements||2× All-Star (2004, 2005)World Series champion (1997)World Series MVP (1997)NLCS MVP (1997)Silver Slugger Award (2004)|
8. Camilo Pascual
Camilo Pascual was one of the most influential pitchers in the Cuban League. He was known for his slider, which was one of the best in baseball. In fact, Connie Mack called it “the best slider I’ve ever seen.”
Pascual made his MLB debut in 1959 with the Washington Senators. Will go on to play for six different teams in a 17-year career. Camilo Pascual was a four-time All-Star, and after his first five years in the majors, his record was 28-66. He would finish 174-170.
|Born Place||Havana, Cuba|
|Born Date||January 20, 1934|
|Playing Period||April 15, 1954 – May 5, 1971|
|Team||Washington Senators / Minnesota Twins (1954–1966)Washington Senators (1967–1969)Cincinnati Reds (1969)Los Angeles Dodgers (1970)Cleveland Indians (1971)|
|Achievements||7× All-Star (1959²–1960², 1961²–1962², 1964)3× AL strikeout leader (1961–1963)Minnesota Twins Hall of Fame|
9. Leo Cardenas
Leo Cárdenas was a Cuban shortstop who played 17 seasons in Major League Baseball from 1958 to 1974. Cardenas was an All-Star in four seasons and a Gold Glove Award winner in three seasons. He was the National League’s starting shortstop in the 1962 All-Star Game.
He was born in Havana and began his professional career in 1955 in the Cuban Winter League. Played for the Havana Sugar Kings of the International League in 1957 and was then acquired by the Cincinnati Reds.
Cardenas made his major league debut with the Reds in 1958. And after that, he became their regular shortstop in 1960. In 1961, batted .321 with 12 home runs and 80 RBIs. In 1962, he got a chance as the National League’s starting shortstop for the All-Star Game.
|Born Place||Matanzas, Cuba|
|Born Date||December 17, 1938|
|Playing Period||July 25, 1960 – September 26, 1975|
|Team||Cincinnati Reds (1960–1968)Minnesota Twins (1969–1971)California Angels (1972)Cleveland Indians (1973)Texas Rangers (1974–1975)|
|Achievements||5× All-Star (1964–1966, 1968, 1971)Gold Glove Award (1965)Cincinnati Reds Hall of Fame|
10. Dolf Luque
Dolph Luke was one of the most accomplished Cuban pitchers in history. He played in the Major Leagues for 19 seasons from 1914 to 1935 and was a member of the Cincinnati Reds’ World Series-winning team in 1919.
Luque was born in Havana in 1890 and began his professional career in the Cuban Amateur League in 1910. Made his Major League debut with the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1914. but he did not begin to establish himself until joining the Reds in 1918 as one of the best pitchers in baseball. He won 27 games for the Reds in 1919, helping them to a World Series title. He also followed that up with a league-leading 28 wins in 1920. Dolf won at least 20 games in seven consecutive seasons from 1919 to 1925, and his career record of 194–179 included a 3.24 ERA and 1,773 strikeouts.
After his playing career ended, Luque became a successful manager in the minor leagues. Also, he served as Cuba’s manager in the inaugural World Baseball Classic in 2006. He got the Cuban Sports Hall of Fame and the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1950. 1973.
|Born Place||Havana, Cuba|
|Born Date||August 4, 1890|
|Playing Period||May 20, 1914 – April 26, 1935|
|Team||Boston Braves (1914–1915)Cincinnati Reds (1918–1929)Brooklyn Robins (1930–1931)New York Giants (1932–1935)|
|Achievements||2× World Series champion (1919, 1933)MLB wins leader (1923)2× MLB ERA leader (1923, 1925)Cincinnati Reds Hall of Fame|
The Cuban government’s policy of not allowing its citizens to play professional baseball in the United States has resulted in some of the best players in the world not being able to compete at the highest level.
However, there have been few players who have been able to defect and have had successful Major League careers. The players who have been able to make it to the Major Leagues have been some of the best players in the game and have made a lasting impact on the sport.
In this article, we try to share some of the retired Cuban baseball players and their career stats. Hopefully, this small effort will be helpful for all of you to get an overall idea. Thank you all.
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