The National Baseball Hall of Fame,
located in Cooperstown, New York has documented notable baseball stars and their achievements since 1936. Among the 310 Hall of Fame inductees, only 9 are Latino, 4 of whom are Cuban.
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Below are the 4 Cuban Baseball Hall of Fame inductees:
Martin Dihigo (“El Maestro”)
Inducted into Cooperstown in 1977, Dihigo was the first Cuban to appear in the hall. Dihigo began playing baseball in 1923 at the age of 18 as second baseman for the Cuban Stars. He is known for his curveball hitting record but in 1938 he led the Mexican League in strikeouts after achieving the first ever no-hitter. Dihigo has also been inducted into the Cuban and Mexican baseball halls of fame.
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Tony Perez was inducted into the Hall in 2000 after having played in 5 World Series, earning MVP honors in the 1976 All-Star Game, and completing his sports career with 379 homers. Perez left his job at a sugar cane factory in Havana, Cuba in 1960 to play first baseman for the Cincinnati Reds. His baseball career lasted 23 years in which he collected 1,652 RBIs.
Jose Mendez (“The Black Diamond”)
Mendez was granted his rightful place in Cooperstown in 2006, almost a century after the start of his baseball career. Mendez is known for his fastball, precise curveball, and unmatchable speed. Although he began as a pitcher for the Cuban Stars, Mendez became a shortstop in 1914 after arm injuries. John McGraw, 1912 Hall of Fame manager, said that “if Mendez was a white man, I would pay $50,000 for his release from Almendares.”
Cristobol Torriente (“The Black Babe Ruth”)
Torriente, like Mendez, was inducted into Cooperstown in 2006, long after his actual career. Torriente began playing as a center fielder for the Almendares in Cuba but became a part of the Chicago American Giants in 1918. After winning the league title in 1920 and 1923, Torriente again switched teams in 1926 to join the Kansas City Monarchs and later joined the Detroit Stars. At the end of his career in 1930, Torriente had also played for Gilikerson’s Union Giants, the Atlantic Black Crackers, and the Cleveland Cubs. Torriente is also a member of the Cuban Baseball Hall of Fame and is famous for out-hitting and out-homering Babe Ruth in 1920.
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