Cubans in the Major Leagues
A great number of Cubans have played in the major leagues. The first was Esteban Bellan , who played in the 1870s. Then in 1911 the Cincinnati Reds brought in Rafael Almeida and Armando Marsans, who were followed by a steady stream of players from the Island. Adolfo Luque became the first Latin star when he led all pitchers with an outstanding 27-8 record and a 1.93 ERA in 1923. In the 1950s Minnie Miñoso and other black Cubans helped integrate the Major Leagues. The 60s and 70s brought many players who left the now Communist country like Camilo Pascual, Luis Tiant, Tony Perezand Tony Oliva. More recently Jose Contreras and Rafael Palmeiro have reached stardom. Lately defections from Cuba by their star ballplayers has highlighted the Cuban baseball news. Cuban greats like Livan and Orlando Hernandez have risked their lives to play the highest level of baseball, which is found here in the United States.