Cuba - The Castro Era

República de Cuba

Since the creation of the National Series, now with 16 teams, Cuba has become an international baseball powerhouse, winning frequent honors in tournaments like the Pan American Games and the Olympics.

Fidel Castro, here in 1959, follows a long international tradition: weaving baseball and politics. While many legends surround Castro's baseball talent, research now confirms that he was never a pro prospect.

This jersey was worn by Rey Anglada, second baseman for Havana during the 1980s. Like many Cuban players, he thrived in the National Series and contributed significantly to the country's dominating international teams.

Cuban Olympic Committee banner

Ball signed by the 1996 Cuban Olympic baseball team, including superstars Orestes Kindelán and Omar Linares, which defeated Japan for the Gold Medal

Cuban defector Liván Hernández earned World Series MVP honors in 1997 while pitching for the Florida Marlins, but other Cuban greats, like manager Jorge Fuentes, Orestes Kindelán, Omar Linares and Lázaro Valle, remain unknown to most U.S. fans.

Baseball cards from Cuba, 1994

These shoes were worn by Team Cuba closer Pedro Luis Lazo, "the Cuban Skyscraper," and center fielder Alfredo Despaigne in the 2009 Baseball World Cup hosted by Nettuno, Italy. Despaigne set a record for home runs in a Cup tournament (11) and Lazo saved three games to extend his record for career Cup saves (9) before finishing second to Team USA.