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)


7 Comments on “This day in baseball: Bellán’s professional debuts”

  1. steve says:

    Such a fascinating history is baseball in Cuba or Cuba in baseball the way their revolutionary heroes also played baseball and the way Spain the colonizing empire banned baseball in Cuba and imprisoned its players and the way Cuba made baseball a huge part of its own identity anyway. ‘Greener Grass: Cuba, Baseball and the United States’ is a wonderful documentary. Seems even more appropriate now that US and Cuban relations are warming.

    • I was hoping to find a cheap copy of that documentary, but no luck so far. I’ll keep looking. The growth of baseball in Latin America is fascinating, and one I really ought to explore more.

      • steve says:

        I started reading the The Pride of Havana by Roberto Echevarria; a history of Cuban baseball. Holy extensive research. I’m glad I’m a slow reader. This one may take a few years, but what i gather is the crossing over of players between Cuban, Mexican, and Negro League baseball, even some Quebec provincial leagues in there among all kinds of other fascinating this and that.

        I think I downloaded Greener Grass when it was available on kickass torrents.Maybe it still is. I wish I could reupload it somewhere so you could see it. Is there a site where we can share videos?

        In looking for Greener Grass just now, I came across this new one I had never seen and downloaded it and will watch it now. A chinese muslim baseball team for a caption sucked me right in.

        • Oh nice. I’ll have to watch Diamond in the Dunes when I get a chance today. Thanks for the share. As for Greener Grass, is it in a format that could be emailed? If not, we’ll come up with something. Surely Google has some kind of feature we could use. And thanks for the book title, too. I’ve added it to my list.

          One of my goals for 2015 is to read all of the baseball books that I currently own, as I do have a few. That way I can start expanding into recommendations without feeling guilty about the ones still sitting on my shelf.


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