Fidel Castro’s name will undoubtedly come up a bunch in coming days, now that the United States plans to normalize relations with Cuba. The former Cuban president was a thorn in America’s side for decades.
But here’s one Castro story that hopefully won’t be repeated: The one about Castro getting a tryout with the New York Yankees or Washington Senators before he ascended to power, or the one about Castro turning down a $5,000 offer from the New York Giants in 1951 in order to pursue a law degree.
Such stories are bunk. Snopes.com shoots them down:
Although this legend has an aura of plausibility to Americans in that baseball has long flourished in Cuba, and Castro has been a very visible supporter of (and pseudo-participant in) the sport, it is neither true nor credible, as Cubans have always been aware. Castro never had a tryout with a major-league baseball team, and didn’t come close to possessing skills which would attract the interest of a big-league team.
Snopes cites Yale professor Roberto Gonzalez Echevarria, who wrote a book on Cuban baseball and said Castro’s name never came up in any box score published in any Cuban newspaper, except in one 1946 intramural game.
“While a fan of baseball, Castro was not a good enough player to warrant such a try-out and there is no record of having his played professionally,” notes Baseball-Reference.com.