SABR Negro Leagues Robert Peterson Award

Author in Havana with Cuban League Commissioner Carlitos Rodriguez

Fidel Pitching Myth Exploded in Chapter 9

Cuba's Blackball Connections Explored in Chapter 8

Bjarkman Books

“Daring, honest, exceptional… Peter C. Bjarkman has written a must-read primer for anyone considering the truth behind Cuban baseball’s impact on Major League Baseball.” — Ray Otero
No world leader has had the impact on his nation's leading pastime to the same degree that the half-century rule of Fidel Castro would produce in the baseball fanatic island of Cuba.
“Nobody knows more about the intertwining of politics and baseball in Cuba than Peter Bjarkman ...” — Omar Minaya
"Bjarkman delivers the definitive work on Cuban baseball" — Library Journal
Pioneering bilingual editions (English and Spanish volumes) edited by Peter C. Bjarkman and Bill Nowlin and drawn from SABR Biography Project archives on legendary Cuban ballplayers. Features portraits of many of Cuba's most legendary pre- and post-revolution stars.
"Truly a triumph of research and good writing, this gem should be on the reference shelves of any library boasting a serious baseball collection." — Paul Kaplan, Library Journal
"Smoke is visual, visceral energy ... Rarely does a baseball book offer so much ..." — Sports Collectors Digest
"An unrivaled definitive history of the Latino invasion of the North American pastime." —
"A celebration of the powerful grip that America's game has on its millions of fans, and an attempt to recreate baseball history as it lives in our memory and imagination."
Pete Bjarkman also edited the popular early-1990s collection of baseball short stories entitled Baseball & The Game of Life (which appeared in both English and Japanese editions)
An ultimate guide to the top figures (on the court and off) timed for the sports collegiate centennial and also covering the first half-century of the professional game.
The composite story of American collegiate basketball, written on the occasion of the sport's centennial and later reissued in an attractive paperback edition.
Five-decade illustrated history of major league baseball's most successful and popular post-expansion-era franchise
Colorful review of one of pro basketball's most-storied franchises, focusing equally on the Russell-Cousy-Auerbach unparalleled dynasties years during the strife-torn Sixties and the rebirth of glory under Larry Bird and Robert Parrish in the Eighties and Nineties.
Early Bjarkman coffee table pictorial team history volumes include books on the Toronto Blue Jays, Brooklyn Dodgers, Cincinnati Reds and Los Angeles Dodgers (the latter pair published in the Brompton Book's "Baseball Great Dynasties Series).
A quintet (appropriately enough) of pro and college basketball volumes representing the author's free-lance work in the final decade of the 20th century, before the siren-call of baseball in Cuba.
A collection of additional baseball and basketball volumes edited by the author, plus major contributed chapters and a handful of volume "introductions" contributed over the years.
Bjarkman's several dozen SABR BioProject articles (on-line and forthcoming) are all linked here (Cuban and Japanese players). The author's Bios for Cuban big leaguers are also linked above on the separate Cuban Baseball Legends book page.
Nine early Bjarkman authored sports biographies for Young Adult Readers produced in the early and mid-1990s
The author's work has also appeared extensively in Spanish, including numerous journal articles. Several of his books have also been translated into other foreign-language editions (Japanese, French and Polish)


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"Through this and other publications, Peter Bjarkman is doing for Cuban baseball what Ry Cooder has done for Cuban music, helping us appreciate the complexity, creativity, and emotions of a people whose culture and politics have long been intertwined with those of the United States but who have often been made invisible by social attitudes or political barriers." — Joseph Arbena, Book Review in Arête: The Journal of Sports Literature

"The definitive work on Cuban baseball." — "Library Journal" (2007)

Bjarkman's seminal Cuban baseball history was the top-selling McFarland baseball title (among 250-plus titles in print) for February 2007 and March 2007. The volume also ranked second on the McFarland list for April 2007 and fourth for January 2007. Reviewers have been generally enthusiastic in their positive evaluations.

"Bjarkman delivers the definitive work on Cuban baseball. He looks at four Cuban legends—Martin Dihigo, Adolfo Luque, Orestes "Minnie" Minoso, and Conrado Marrero—before covering Cuba's baseball teams during both the prerevolutionary and Castro eras. He discusses Havana's place as the 'amateur baseball capital of the world' and also explores myths surrounding Castro as a ballplayer, as well as such figures as Orlando 'El Duque' Hernandez. With useful appendices and statistics. For all baseball collections."—Review from "Library Journal" (Spring Baseball Lineup) feature (February 1, 2007)

"This concern with positioning is vital when dealing with histories and thus it is important that one understands the position from which the historian approaches his or her subject and what kind of ideological lenses are being used to examine that subject. Bjarkman's passion for Cuban baseball is clearly evident throughout the entire work. This is a labour of love. That passion comes through in the amount of work necessary to produce this coffee-table-sized tome. Really this is two books corralled into one cover. The one is a compilation of statistics covering the history of the sport on the island. The other is a social history comprised of a set of biographies of Cuba's most important players, on and off the diamond. That said, what Bjarkman has accomplished is masterful. Fans of the Latin American game, baseball historians, and Cubaphiles will all find this an essential addition to their libraries and will consult it often." — Review by Thomas Carter in "The International Journal of the History of Sport" (Summer 2008)

Major League Baseball's 2006 World Baseball Classic shocked an international audience when an amateur team from Cuba met Japan in San Diego for the sport's first true world championship. But those who had paid attention to international tournaments were hardly surprised by Cuba's showing against all-star teams of American, Puerto Rican, Dominican and Venezuelan professionals. Cuban national teams have now reached the finals of 38 consecutive major world tournaments, won better than 90 percent of their international contests since 1939, repeatedly beaten U.S. all-stars at the avowed American national game, and reigned for more than half a century as undisputed champions of global baseball. In this groundbreaking book, expert Peter C. Bjarkman follows the full arc of Cuban baseball history, including close coverage of the nearly five decades since the Sugar Kings' ejection from the International League. Dispelling the mystery and disinformation that surround Cuba, its leader, and its teams, early and late, Bjarkman gives us the first truly balanced history of baseball on the Caribbean island.

The first detailed history of Cuban baseball that gives equal treatments to both the post-revolution Cuban (Amateur) League (1962-2006) and the pre-revolution professional Cuban (Winter) League (1878-1961). Detailed narrative history, abundant statistics, year-by-year summaries of all Cuban League seasons through 2006. Discussions of recent defections of Cuban players to the majors, Cuba's role in baseball detente, and the special features that make current Cuban League play the most unique (and perhaps the best) baseball spectacle found anywhere.



1: Martin Dihigo—Baseball's Least-Known Hall of Famer
2: Adolfo Luque—The Lost Pride of Havana
3: Orestes Miñoso—The Cuban Comet
4: The Baseball Half-Century of Conrado Marrero

5: Myths and Legends of the Cuban Professional League (1878-1961)
6: Cuban Blackball's Doubleheaders on the Dark Side of the Moon
7: Havana as Amateur Baseball Capital of the World
8: Cuba's Revolutionary Baseball (1962-2005)

9: The Myth of Fidel Castro, Barbudos Ballplayer
10: Tarzan, Minnie, Zorro, and El Duque—The Saga of Cubans in the Major Leagues
11: The World's Best Unknown Ballplayers
12: Playing with the Enemy: Defections, The Orioles Series, and Cuban Baseball Detente

Appendix I: Cuban Baseball Chronology (1864-2006)
Appendix II: The Cuban Negro Leagues Register
Appendix III: Cuban Major League Register
Appendix IV: Cuban Baseball Statistical Records