Cuban Leaguer Angel Scull never played a single game in the majors, but his 1954 Topps bubblegum card (issued somewhat prematurely before a spring training injury ended Scull’s career) may be the most artistic Cuban baseball card ever published.
Tommie de la Cruz was an Afro-Cuban journeyman pitcher who reached the “all-white” majors three full seasons (1944, Cincinnati) before Afro-American Jackie Robinson.
“El Gigante de Escambray” was a slugging sensation of the 1970s who lasted a record 24 seasons of National Series playand slugged 370 career roundtrippers.
Omar “El Nino” Linares was unquestionably Cuba’s best performer of the post-revolution era and has his supporters (alongside Martin Dihigo) as the biggest Cuban talent of any era (professional or amateur).
The colorful legends surrounding the unpredictable onfield behaviors of Victor “El Loco” Mesa as both an outfielder (1980s-1990s) and manager (2000s) are unpassed in an epoch of Cuban baseball history.
Martin Dihigo (DEE-Go) of blackball fame remains the popular choice as Cuba’s greatest ballplayer ever, twice leading a circuit (Cuba and Mexico) in batting average and pitching ERA in the same season.
Agustin Marquetti was the first great slugger of the modern era (post-revolution) and was far better known for the towering blasts he often stroked than for the actual numbers of home runs amassed.
Cuban “Steve” Bellan became the first Latino big leaguer when he appeared with the Troy Haymakers of the National Association (1871).
Big league journeyman catcher Miguel Angel Gonzalez (1920s and 1930s) was the first Cuban to manage a big league team (Cardinals as an interim) and is most renowned for waving Enos Slaughter home from third with World Series winning run (1946) and for coining the phrase “good field, no hit” (while scouting Moe Berg).
The myth of Fidel Castro as one-time pitching prospect (based on a 1959 2-inning exhibition outing) is explored and exploded in Bjarkman’s A HISTORY OF CUBAN BASEBALL, 1864-2006 (Chapter 9).