Connie Marrero, the oldest former major leaguer at 102 years old, passed away yesterday, just shy of his 103rd birthday.
The Cuban-born Marrero pitched for the original Senators -- now the Minnesota Twins -- at the tail end of his career, making his Major League Baseball debut as a 39-year-old rookie with the 1950 Senators, making 19 starts and compiling a 6-10 record for a miserable Washington squad that somehow didn't finish in last place. (The Sens finished 20 games under .500 and still managed to finish fifth in the American League, albeit 31 games out of first.) He was named to the American League All-Star Team in 1951 but didn't make it in the game. By 1955 he was pitching in the minors, retiring in 1957 as a member of the International League's Havana Sugar Kings.
Our John Moist toured the ballparks of Cuba in 2010 and 2011 and had a chance to meet Marrero. Marrero spent his later years visiting with baseball fans, listening to games on the radio and enjoying a daily cigar.
"He woke up in the morning and it was like he wasn't there. He wasn't reacting," Rogelio Marrero told The Associated Press....
In interviews with the AP in recent years, Marrero recounted the highlights of a career facing off against Hall of Famers such as Mickey Mantle and Larry Doby. Beating the New York Yankees was especially gratifying, he said. He also recalled struggling against left-handed batters in general, and southpaw slugger Ted Williams in particular, a frustration shared by plenty of his contemporaries....
Born April 25, 1911, in the town of Sagua la Grande, about 220 miles (350 kilometers) east of Havana, Marrero's nickname on the island was "The Peasant from Laberinto," after the farm where he grew up.
The oldest living former major leaguer, according to the National Baseball Hall of Fame: Mike Sandlock, a 98-year-old former infielder/catcher who played 64 games with the Boston Braves, Brooklyn Dodgers and Pittsburgh Pirates.
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