Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Brooklyn Dodgers in Cuba

Book Description: The Brooklyn Dodgers held spring training in Havana in 1947 so Jackie Robinson could practice safely. Yet that was hardly the beginning: the Bums played in Cuba over 60 seasons, from 1900 to 1959. Ballplayers drank hard with Hemingway. Some found themselves in Cuban jails. Pitcher Van Lingle Mungo, barricaded in the Hotel Nacional with two women, fended off an angry husband (and his machete). Leo Durocher got into a brawl with an umpire, after Lippy's translator correctly cursed him in Spanish. Vin Scully watched machine gun-toting barbudos enter the room. An outfielder leaped into the stands, with a loaded gun, to chase a fan. Several players encountered Fidel Castro, who once walked onto the field in his fatigues, patted his pistol, and said to Lefty Locklin, "Tonight, we win."

Author Bio: Jim Vitti has written several baseball books and received the Sporting News/Society for American Baseball Research (SABR) Award in 2004. He longs for the day when Havana can rejoin the International League.


JG: This book is superb! I got my copy on the mail on Saturday. It has a big treasure of outstanding photos of great MLB players while they were "spring training" in Havana. If you like Cuba and baseball, this book belongs in your library.

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