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  #1  
Old 07-04-2022, 09:18 PM
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Default Cuban Baseball and Castro Experts?

I have a couple of photos for which I'd like a bit of help. The first shows a young Fidel Castro in an Oriente uniform with players in Cuba and Canada uniforms with him. The second appears to show a group of students taking the field and getting into it with the umpire. I think the latter might be one of the 1951 student protests mentioned in the following SABR write up:

https://sabr.org/bioproj/topic/fidel...-and-baseball/

"During the fifth inning and with American Hoak occupying the batter’s box, a spontaneous anti-Batista student demonstration suddenly broke out (Hoak reported such uprisings as all-too-regular occurrences during that particular 1951 season) with horns blaring, firecrackers exploding, and anti-Batista forces streaming directly onto the field of play."

A bit difficult to say for certain. I would love some more information on either of the photos.

I did investigate the author of the SABR piece and unfortunately he passed away in 2018.

Last edited by Jobu; 07-05-2022 at 05:06 PM.
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Old 07-05-2022, 04:07 AM
EddieP EddieP is offline
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Nice photos.

The umpire is Raul “ el Chino” Atan.

This is from Ecuador’s version of Wikipedia:

‘En la Liga Profesional de Béibol Cubana trabajó como árbitro desde 1927 hasta 1961. En la Liga Mexicana se desempeña como árbitro de 1940 a 1945, y allí fue jefe del cuerpo de árbitros. En 1946 regresa a Cuba. En Cuba llegó a impartir justicia en un juego que sólo duró 69 minutos.

Fungió también como árbitro en Venezuela y República Dominicana. Sirvió de maestro para los nuevos árbitros que participarían en la ..l”


I am a bit rusty in reading Spanish, but it roughly translates:” He worked as an umpire in the Professionla Cuban Baseball league from 1927 to 1961. He was an umpire in the Mexican League from 1940 to 1945 where he was the head umpire. He returned to Cuba in 1946. In Cuba, He umpired a game that lasted 69 minutes.
He also umpired in Venezuela and the Dominican Republic. He taught new umpires who participated in the…”

There were some photos auctioned by Hake with the same RFM logo. It was dated by PSA to be taken circa 1947.

Looking at the garb ( 2 chest pockets plaid shirt/ baggie pants) in the Atan photo and comparing it to old family photographs, I would reckon it was taken sometime in the 1950s.

Last edited by EddieP; 07-05-2022 at 06:41 AM.
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Old 07-05-2022, 04:11 PM
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PM "Roland 49" -- valued member here, no one's more expert on Cuban baseball history and Cuban baseball memorabilia.
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Old 07-05-2022, 05:07 PM
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Two great answers, thanks! I surely wasn't expecting to be able to id the ump, very cool. I also just reached out to Roland 49 -- looking forward to his input.
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Old 07-06-2022, 02:32 AM
EddieP EddieP is offline
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I thought RFM stood for Radio Free Marti but Radio Marti TV wasn’t formed until the 1980s. The problem with the 1951 student protest against Batista was that Batista didn’t seize power until March 1952. Anti- Batista student protests wouldn’t occur until a few years after and were becoming common in 1955-56.More plausibly the student demonstration could be the 1956 protest in el Estadio Latinoamerica.

I would date the Atan photo 1954-1956.

Some things that may be helpful in dating the Castro photo:

1.Castro didn’t start growing his beard until December 1956
2. Castro was born in Oriente, Cuba where he had his greatest support during his Revolution.
3. Afro-Cubans were not allowed to play in Amateur League Baseball until 1959.

The country’s name on the uniforms seems to indicate some sort of international play ( e.g. Pan Am Games, Amateur World Series), the catcher’s chest protector and glove seems to be about late 1950s early 1960s. I’d reckon the picture was taken after Castro gained power and/or after the professional Cuban Leagues were abolish. I would date this photo 1959-1961.

Please keep us posted.

Last edited by EddieP; 07-07-2022 at 01:20 AM.
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Old 07-08-2022, 09:24 PM
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The photo where umpire Raúl (Chino) Atan appears is from one of the protests of university students against the Batista government, in the photo the 2nd from the right with a black sweater is José Antonio Echevarria, president of the FEU, Student Federation University, who was injured by the police, Jose Antonio on March 13, 1957 was killed by the police after the assault on the Presidential Palace and the taking of Radio Clock, that photo belongs to the first of the protests in the Cerro Stadium, I have memories of the 2nd protest in the same place, the RF stamp is from the photographer Ramón Fernández known as Ramoncito, Raul Atan was a baseball player in the 1920s, and he has his cards in the Aguilitas series, he was a referee in Cuba and other countries.
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Old 07-09-2022, 10:58 AM
Roland 49 Roland 49 is offline
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In the photo of the Estadium del Cerro, that was a peaceful protest of the students who carried a cloth with protests against the government, the second from left to right with black sweaters is José Antonio Echevarria, leader of the University, you see the umpire Raul Atan and behind him, umpire Amado Maestri, who defended the students from the beating that the police gave them, some students were injured, there was another one years later and I was present with my father, even though I was a child, but I have memories of that moment .
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Old 07-13-2022, 10:29 AM
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Holy smokes, you guys are amazing.

So to recap, the photo with umpires Raul Atan and Amado Maestri shows them trying to prevent the police from reaching the students during a peaceful protest against the Batista government in 1955-56 at the Estadium del Cerro. This was the first of several protests at this stadium. The student in black sweater second from the left is José Antonio Echevarria, president of the FEU, Student Federation University, who was injured by the police and was killed by police on March 13, 1957 after the assault on the Presidential Palace and the taking of Radio Clock.

The Castro photo is during international play after 1959, but likely not more than a handful of years later.

This is great and is already far more information than I expected to get.
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