Ashwill: The 1899 All-Cubans

From SABR member Gary Ashwill at Negro Leagues History on July 22, 2018:

One of the preludes to the integration of Cuban baseball in 1900 was the first visit by a professional Cuban team to the United States. The Spanish imperial authorities had always been suspicious of baseball, and at various times had banned or otherwise hampered the sport; but in the aftermath of the war of 1898, with U.S. authorities established in the island, the first fully fledged Cuban League season in many years was begun in February 1899. In June it was announced that as soon as the current championship was over, a team called the “All-Cubans,” made up of players from all three Cuban League teams, would travel to the United States.

The team was organized by a young promoter named Abel Linares. One of his recent accomplishments had been to convince Reach & Co., the American sporting goods company, to donate a cup for the Cuban League championship. Now he aimed to show off Cuban talent in the country of baseball’s origin. Several years later he wrote about the genesis of his idea:

When base ball in Cuba was in its infancy, in that time of true amateurism, there came to the island picked nines of American players. Because of lack of experience, or maybe fear, the Cuban clubs received sovereign scourges (“zurras soberanas”) at the hands of these masters who visited us.

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Originally published: July 23, 2018. Last Updated: July 23, 2018.