Turbow: Satchel Paige and playing baseball for a dictator

From SABR member Jason Turbow at The National Pastime Museum on June 19, 2017:

In 1937, Rafael Trujillo, the Dominican Republic’s iron-fisted dictator from 1930 through 1961, turned his attention from despotism to baseball. More accurately, he saw baseball as a means to further his despotism. His political rivals, seizing upon the national obsession with the sport, had begun to field formidable teams within the Dominican professional league. Trujillo knew that to fully maintain his grip on public opinion, he would have to do the same.

The president already controlled his hometown club, formerly known as the Santo Domingo Dragones, which had since seen its base of operations renamed Ciudad Trujillo. Los Dragones de Trujillo were loaded with local talent, including Puerto Rican import Perucho Cepeda—whose nickname, “The Bull,” lent his ballplaying son Orlando the moniker “Baby Bull”—but the dictator was dissatisfied. He wanted American ringers.

To find them, he tabbed the dean of the University of Santo Domingo, Dr. Jose Enrique Aybar, whose seat on the National Congress was of far less interest to Trujillo than his position as director of Los Dragones.

Read the full article here: https://www.thenationalpastimemuseum.com/article/satchel-paige-plays-dictator-rafael-trujillo-dominican-republic

Originally published: June 19, 2017. Last Updated: June 19, 2017.