Cieradkowski: Jose Mendez, beating the Reds black and blue

From SABR member Gary Cieradkowski at Studio Gary C on August 8, 2019:

When the Cincinnati Reds disembarked in Havana in early November 1908, they expected a nice, leisurely vacation and nice, easy exhibition games against the locals. Baseball was an American game and, heck, they were The Cincinnati Reds of the National League. Though they finished in 5th place, the Reds were tried and true professionals – even with their two best pitchers staying home in the States, surely they’d be more than a match for the island competition they were going to face in the 11 exhibition games over the next 2 weeks.

The first game they played was on November 12th against the Havana Reds. Havana was well-seeded with top-draw Negro league imports including Grant “Home Run” Johnson, Bill Monroe and future Hall of Famer Pete Hill. Luis Padrón, who would play in both the minor leagues and Negro leagues, gave up seven hits to the Reds and lost 3-1. Three days later they were slated to meet the Havana Reds’ rival club, the Almendares Blues.

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Originally published: August 13, 2019. Last Updated: August 13, 2019.