Getting out of
JULY 25, 1959
Havana used to have minor league baseball of the American variety. What happened on this date in 1959 pretty much put an end to that. And it all revolved around rebel leader Fidel Castro, not a bad ballplayer himself in his younger days.
The Havana Sugar Kings, an independent team with a bunch of players from the Cincinnati Reds organization were entertaining the Rochester (NY) Red Wings, a Boston Red Sox affiliate. The game, running late already, went into extra innings. At midnight, a celebration began in the streets commemorating the revolution. It spilled into the stands. With the game tied in the 12th shots rang out in the direction of the field as
Rochester mounted a rally.
Havana shortstop Leo Cardenas was grazed in the shoulder.
Rochester third base coach Frank Verdi, was struck in the head. Fortunately he had head gear on because he’d been in the lineup earlier in the game. Neither was seriously hurt.
After this rather frightening display of fire power, the players and umpires quickly left the field. After things calmed down the league president said the game would be continued later that Sunday afternoon. The Rochester Red Wings said no way. They had no intention of playing. After one more tense night in a
Havana hotel, the team left
Miami Sunday night. The Havana Sugar Kings played one more season in
Cuba, then were relocated to