Thursday, March 17, 2011

Brooklyn Dodgers in Cuba

From the Daffiness Boys to a first World Championship, the history of the Dodgers has been colorful and exciting. It also happens to be replete with hilarity. The best of which likely happened in Cuba in the spring. Unfortunately, I've only read a handful of stories about their spring jaunts there, but have always wanted to hear more.

That is why I am excited about this new book being released later this month through Arcadia Publishing. It is called "Brooklyn Dodgers in Cuba," and is written by Jim Vitti, who had won the International Book of the Year Award from The Sporting News and SABR in 2004.From the Press Release:

The Brooklyn Dodgers held spring training in Havana in 1947 so Jackie Robinson could practice safely. Yet that was hardly the beginning: the Bums played in Cuba over 60 seasons, from 1900 to 1959. Ballplayers drank hard with Hemingway. Some found themselves in Cuban jails. Pitcher Van Lingle Mungo, barricaded in the Hotel Nacional with two women, fended off an angry husband (and his machete). Leo Durocher got into a brawl with an umpire, after Lippy's translator correctly cursed him in Spanish. Vin Scully watched machine gun-toting barbudas enter the room. An outfielder leaped into the stands, with a loaded gun, to chase a fan. Several players encountered Castro, who once walked onto the field in his fatigues, patted his pistol, and said to Lefty Locklin, "Tonight, we win."
Highlights of Brooklyn Dodgers in Cuba:
  • Brooklyn ballplayers headed to Ernest Hemingway’s bungalow to drink all night. They donned boxing gloves to pummel each other, taking lamps, fixtures, and furniture down with them.
  • Dodger rookie Ed Chandler was arrested in mid-game against the Yankees and paraded across the field in flannels and handcuffs, much to the delight of thousands of jeering, bottle-hurling fans. Another Dodger, Sam Nahem, was a lawyer, but could not spring Chandler from a night in jail. “All he was able to get me was a sandwich,” Chandler said.
Ohhh Yhea! That's what I'm talking about. I've got a review copy heading my way and plan on reviewing it right away. I've also got a interview from the author that I'm going through right now. I'll be posting that later on. Check out the website here.

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