June 2005 > Sports > Baseball Autographs
< previous lot |  next lot >
Lot 612: Fidel Castro Signed Baseball
Indelibly rare Cuban baseball signed by failed southpaw Fidel Castro. One can only wonder how history would have been altered had Fidel succeeded in his first dream, that of playing big league ball in the States. A star pitcher at the University of Havana, Castro had an especially wicked curveball, and it is said that he had tryouts with the Yankees, Senators and Pirates, though a Pirate scout wrote in his report that the kid "has nothing on the fastball" and judged him to be "Double A talent at best." Rather than try his luck (another story, from Fidel himself, is that he rejected a $5,000 bonus from the Giants), Castro turned to his other dream -- becoming a lawyer and then dictator of Cuba, which he had far more success in achieving. Still, he didn't completely give up the baseball dream. In July 1959 he pitched 2 innings of a pickup game with his team, Los Barbudos, against a military police team -- his only recorded appearance in any game. Perhaps the last straw for Castro was when baseball moved the minor league Havana Sugar Kings to Newark after the '59 season (maybe the gunshots fired by Fidel's mobs during a game, wounding 2 players, had something to do with it). Signature is penned in shocking pink marker and grades a strong 9/10. Ball is evenly toned and rates EX with stampings clearly identified as "Hecho en Cuba."
|The bidding for this lot has ended.|