Kahrl: Never forget Castro’s legacy in Cuba, on and off the diamond

From SABR member Christina Kahrl at ESPN.com on November 26, 2016:

It is an unusual moment in baseball history to see the news that Fidel Castro is dead. Cuba’s divergent path into communism, started almost 60 years ago, has shaped how generations of Americans, Cubans and Cuban-Americans have seen the relationship between the two countries, a relationship that has also played out on baseball diamonds across decades.

The image of the Cuban dictator in a baseball uniform might seem as cartoonish today as it was on TV in the 1970s or ’80s. But that was only if you could afford to pretend that you didn’t know what the Castro regime in Cuba was, playing make-believe as he switched from his military uniform as Cuba’s unelected president into the more relatable togs that made a dictator look like a fan.

Castro’s association with the game also spun out a cottage industry of speculation, including the legend of his trying out with either the Yankees or Senators — which never happened — to former big leaguer Don Hoak’s claim in a 1964 Sport magazine column that he batted against Castro after a young Fidel stormed a Cuban League diamond and took the hill in 1950 or 1951 — which also didn’t happen.

Read the full article here: http://www.espn.com/blog/sweetspot/post/_/id/76542/never-forget-castros-legacy-in-cuba-on-and-off-the-diamond

Originally published: November 29, 2016. Last Updated: November 29, 2016.