Bangert: Bjarkman recalls Fidel Castro’s call to the dugout

From Dave Bangert at the Lafayette Journal & Courier on November 28, 2016, with mention of SABR member Peter C. Bjarkman:

In all Peter Bjarkman’s trips to Cuba and beyond to track and write about baseball, the game Fidel Castro used as a source of national pride, the retired Purdue University linguistics professor and prolific author said one thing is indisputable.

“When it comes to the national team, so loved and so revered,” Bjarkman said, “there’s like 11 million managers in Cuba. Everyone second-guesses everything the manager of the national team does.”

That actually was the kicker to the first question for Bjarkman, who has been writing books about Cuban leagues since his first visit in 1997: Just how close did baseball get him to meeting the Cuban revolutionary leader, who died over the weekend?

“Funny anecdote about that,” Bjarkman said Monday from his Lafayette home, putting a start to the story, which gets a mention in his latest book, “Cuba’s Baseball Defectors: The Inside Story” (Rowman & Littlefield, 2016).

“Not close, really. It wasn’t even in Cuba. But here goes.”

Read the full article here:

Originally published: November 28, 2016. Last Updated: November 28, 2016.