In February 1947, the most memorable season in the history of the Cuban League finished with a dramatic series win by Almendares against its rival Habana. As the celebration spread through the streets of Havana and across Cuba, the Brooklyn Dodgers -- and a minor leaguer named Jackie Robinson -- were beginning spring training on the island.
Robinson was two months away from making his major league debut in Brooklyn. To avoid racism and harassment from the crowds in Florida during this critical time, the Dodgers relocated their spring training to Cuba.
It was also during this time that Major League Baseball was trying to bring the “outlaw” Cuban League under the control of organized baseball. As the Cubans fought to stay independent, Robinson worked to earn a roster spot on the Dodgers.
In Havana Hardball, veteran journalist Cesar Brioso brings together a rich mix of worlds as the heyday of Latino baseball converged with one of the most socially meaningful events in American history. Listen in to our discussion on a Fall evening in the Bergino Baseball Clubhouse...