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Fidel Castro & Baseball: The Untold Story

"There has never been a case in which a head of state has been involved so prominently and for such a long period in a nation's favored sport as Fidel Castro has been with baseball in Cuba." — Roberto González Echevarría, The Pride of Havana


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. Here for the first time is the complete story of Fidel Castro's unique baseball empire built behind the Sugar Cane Curtain of the mid- and late-twentieth-century U.S-Cuba Cold War Era.


In this important and ground-breaking new work Chadwick Award Winner Peter Bjarkman establishes the baseball side of Fidel Castro's immense legacy. Covered here is the mythology of Fidel Castro as big league pitching prospect, the true of Fidel in guiding and rebuilding island baseball culture after the 1959 Communist Revolution, Fidel's success and failures at "beating the Americans at their own national game, reviews of the popular literature treating Fidel's actual and fiction life, and an insightful look at how baseball recent seeming collapse in Cuba and the flight of star players the Major League Baseball was intimately tied to Castro's health crises, departure from power (at the acme of Cuban baseball potency in early 2006) and eventual death (a decade later in late 2016).


Chapter 1 – "History Will Absolve Me"
Chapter 2 - Baseball's Most Outrageous Myth
Chapter 3 - Fidel and Baseball Fiction
Chapter 4 - The Infamous Barbudos Game
Chapter 5 - The Death of Cuba's Professional Baseball
Chapter 6 - The Socialist Baseball Experiment
Chapter 7 - The Other Big Red Machine
Chapter 8 - The Defectors Phenomenon
Chapter 9 - The Collapse of Cuban Baseball
Appendix I: A Fidel Castro Chronology
Appendix II: Fidel Castro Annotated Bibliography
Chapter Notes
Sources and Bibliography
The Author


English Language Articles


"Fidel Castro and Baseball" on-line at THE SABR BIOGRAPHY PROJECT (


"Fidel Castro and Baseball" in: Cuban Baseball Legends: Baseball's Alternative Universe (Edited by Peter C. Bjarkman and Bill Nowlin). Phoenix: The Society for American Baseball Research (SABR Digital Library), 2016, 30-47.


"The Myth of Fidel Castro, Barbudos Ballplayer" (Chapter 9) in: Peter C. Bjarkman, A History of Cuban Baseball, 1864-2006. Jefferson, NC: McFarland & Company Publishers, 2007, 2014, pp. 299-314.


"Fidel on the Mound: Baseball Myth and History in Castro's Cuba" in: Elysian Fields Quarterly 16:3 (Summer 1999), 31-41.

"Fidel Castro's Pitching Career" in: International Baseball Rundown 9:2 (March-April 2000), 8-9.


"Baseball and Fidel Castro" in: The National Pastime: A Review of Baseball History 18 (1998), 64-68. The Society for American Baseball Research.


"Fidel Castro and Baseball" on-line at (November 26, 2016)


Spanish Language Articles


"Fidel Castro y El Béisbol" in: Leyendas del Béisbol Cubano: El Universo Alternativo del Béisbol (Edited by Peter C. Bjarkman and Bill Nowlin, translations by Reynaldo Cruz). Phoenix: The Society for American Baseball Research (SABR Digital Library), 2016, 31-49.


"Fidel Castro y el béisbol" in: Universo Béisbol 7:74 (Diciembre 2016), 32-43. (Translation by Reynaldo Cruz)


"Fidel Castro y el béisbol" (Translation by Reynaldo Cruz) on-line at (November 26, 2016)