This day in baseball: Bellán’s professional debuts

The first game of the Professional Baseball League of Cuba was played in Havana on December 29, 1878. Led by player-manager Esteban Bellán, Habana defeated Almendares, 21-20.  Bellán had also been the first Latin-born player to play in the American major leagues, spending three years in the National Association of Base Ball Players (NABBP) from 1868 to 1870, and three years in the National Association of Professional Base Ball Players (NAPBBP) from 1871 to 1873.

Fordham University Libraries
Esteban Bellán (Fordham University Libraries)

Quote of the day

Every hitter likes fastballs, just like everybody likes ice cream. But you don’t like it when someone’s stuffing it into you by the gallon. That’s what it feels like when Nolan Ryan’s thrown balls by you.

~Reggie Jackson

Wikimedia Commons
Wikimedia Commons

The Atlantic on baseball cards

A good friend of mine shared this article from The Atlantic with me.  As a kid, I once dabbled in the possibility of beginning a card collection — not just in baseball cards, but in football as well.  The hobby never took off for me, however, and I’m sure my lack of interest was due to impatience and restlessness more than anything else.  Nevertheless, in the quest to look at baseball as a whole, ignoring the role of baseball cards and their collectors would be a foolish move to make.  In his article, Pinsker talks about the relationship between card collecting and capitalism, which is all-too-appropriate considering that Major League Baseball is one of the largest conglomerates in the United States.

A Cultural History of the Baseball Card, by Joe Pinsker

Baseball cards from 1910 (AP)
Baseball cards from 1910 (AP)

Rod Carew’s Hall of Fame induction speech

One of a handful of Latinos in the Baseball Hall of Fame, Rod Carew was inducted into the Hall in 1991.  His number 29 was also retired by the California Angels in 1986, and by the Minnesota Twins in 1987.  For the most part, his speech is pretty standard, and towards the end, he gives a nod to many of baseball’s greats, naming them off as he accepts his place among them.