Andres Fleitas, pre-WWII Cuban baseball star, dies at 95

From SABR member Nick Diunte at on December 18, 2011:

Andres Fleitas, one of the last remaining links to Cuba’s pre-World War II glory days, died Sunday afternoon in Miami according to a report from one of his former minor league teammates. He was 95.

The veteran catcher was the MVP of 1946-47 winter league season, where as a member of Almendares, he helped to guide major leaguer Max Lanier to complete a three game sweep of Havana on only one day of rest.

Prior to his professional career in Cuba, he won two Amateur World Series in 1939 and 1942 earning MVP honors in the latter victory. He joined Almendares during the 1942-43 campaign and stayed with them for almost ten seasons, battling with Mike Guerra for catching duties while also playing first base.

Fleitas entered the United States that summer, playing for the New York Giants AAA farm club in Jersey City. After playing two seasons with the Giants, he was well on the path to the major leagues before an offer of $20,000 from Jorge Pasquel lured him to Mexico for the 1945 season.

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Originally published: December 19, 2011. Last Updated: December 19, 2011.