The Pride of Havana: Baseball in Cuba
Frommer on Sports
Pride of Havana
Roberto Gonzalez Echevarria
University Press, $35.00, 464 pgs.
today is in the news in good ways, in controversial ways and in
interesting ways. Tony Perez is going into the Baseball Hall of Fame, and
a little boy is front-page news caught in the tug of war between the folks
in Cuba and others in the United States.
there is "The Pride of Havana" a labor of love and a work of
scholarship bringing forth a highly readable and most enlightening view of
the history of Cuban baseball. Echevarria, a Cuban and former semi-pro
catcher, is a Sterling professor of Spanish and Comparative Literature at
Yale University. He brings all of this background to bear in his chronicle
of baseball in Cuba from the 1860s to today.
maps, an extensive bibliography (one of my books is included) added to the
wealth of content that makes "The Pride of Havana" perhaps the
most authoritative and comprehensive work on this subject.
book debunks the myth of Castro as a baseball player, shows how baseball
survived the revolution, and analyzes the crucial link between American
Negro League baseball and the game in Cuba.
that are familiar to most baseball fans get the up-close and sometimes
personal treatment: Martin Dihigo, Jose Cardenal, Sandy Amoros, Jose
Canseco, Rafael Palmeiro, Tony Oliva, "Campy" Campaneris, Luis
Tiant, Orlando (El Duque) Hernandez, Orestes "Minnie" Minoso,
Pedro Ramos, Camilo Pascual, Ray Ordonez, Livian Hernandez, Rolando Arrojo
... there are enough great players discussed in this book to form a
formidable Cuban all-time, All-Star team.
flawed aspects of this otherwise excellent work include the author
intruding with "I" too many times, and a too-scholarly approach
to certain themes that makes the book read at times like a Ph.D.
dissertation badly in need of editing.
in the overall thrust of the book, these are minor problems and can be
overlooked. "The Pride of Havana" is a book to read and to use
for reference. It is also a work that will become a permanent part of my
personal sports book collection - and not that many make my personal
For those who like statistics, two books from St. Martin's Press also
belong on your shelf. They are "The Sports Encyclopedia Pro
Football" ($19.99, 633 pages) and "The Sports Encyclopedia
Baseball 1999" ($19.99, 744 pages). Highly organized and priced right
- both books are nifty reference works.
Browns" (Total Sports Publishers, $12.95) is a trade paperback
providing the complete history of this legendary NFL franchise. Long on
stats, the book is billed as "The Official Encyclopedia of the
# # #
You can reach
Harvey Frommer at:
About the Author:
Harvey Frommer is in his 38th year of writing books.
A noted oral historian and sports journalist, the author of 42 sports
books including the classics: "New York City Baseball,1947-1957" and
"Shoeless Joe and Ragtime Baseball," his acclaimed REMEMBERING YANKEE
STADIUM was published in 2008 and his REMEMBERING FENWAY PARK: AN ORAL
AND NARRATIVE HISTORY OF THE HOME OF RED SOX NATION was published to
acclaim in 2011. The prolific Frommer is at work on When It Was
Just a Game, An Oral History on Super Bowel One.
His work has appeared in the New York Times, Los Angeles Times,
Washington Post, New York Daily News, Newsday, USA Today, Men's Heath,
The Sporting News, among other publications.
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Frommer along with his wife, Myrna Katz Frommer are the authors of
five critically acclaimed oral/cultural histories, professors at Dartmouth
College, and travel writers who specialize in cultural history, food, wine, and Jewish history and heritage
in the United States, Europe, and the Caribbean.
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