Tommy de la Cruz

Last updated

Tommy de la Cruz
Tommy de la Cruz.jpg
Born:(1911-09-18)September 18, 1911
Marianao, Cuba
Died: September 6, 1958(1958-09-06) (aged 46)
Havana, Cuba
Batted: RightThrew: Right
MLB debut
April 20, 1944, for the Cincinnati Reds
Last MLB appearance
September 26, 1944, for the Cincinnati Reds
MLB statistics
Win–loss record 9–9
Earned run average 3.25
Strikeouts 65

Tomás de la Cruz Rivero (September 18, 1911 – September 6, 1958) was a Major League Baseball pitcher who played for the Cincinnati Reds in 1944. The 32-year-old rookie was a native of Marianao, Cuba; he played from 1934 to 1947 in the winter Cuban League and from 1945 to 1948 in the Mexican League. In 1960, he was elected to the Cuban Baseball Hall of Fame. [1]


Playing career

De la Cruz is one of many ballplayers who only appeared in the major leagues during World War II. He was a very effective pitcher for the Reds in his one big league season. His major league debut was on April 20, 1944, which was the third game on the schedule. He was the starting pitcher and winner in a 2–1 victory over the Chicago Cubs at Crosley Field.

On September 16, de la Cruz pitched a one-hitter—the first ever pitched in the major leagues by a Latin American pitcher—against the Pittsburgh Pirates, winning two to one. [2]

He was a versatile hurler for Cincinnati, as he completed nine of 20 starts and appeared 14 times in relief. As a reliever he finished ten games and saved one other. For the year he was 9–9 with a 3.25 earned run average, and finished in the league's top ten in four important pitching categories, including WHIP (1.124). He was also a good fielder, committing just one error the entire season.

During the winter, de la Cruz was called up for U.S. military service, but instead enlisted in the Cuban army. With reports that he would not be permitted to return to the United States until after the war, he decided to play in the Mexican League. [3] Pitching for México, de la Cruz went 17–11 with a 2.26 earned run average. He continued to play in Mexican League during 1945–48 and had a career record there of 40–26 with a 2.60 earned run average. [4] Because Major League Baseball designated the Mexican League as an "outlaw league," he was banned for five years from returning to organized baseball. [5]

In his native Cuba, de la Cruz pitched in the winter Cuban League from 1934/35 to 1946/47, with a career record of 71–78. [6] In 1947, the Cuban League agreed to affiliate with U.S. organized baseball, leaving de la Cruz and many other banned Cuban players ineligible to return to the Cuban League. De la Cruz was the leader of the players' union (Asociación Nacional de Peloteros Profesionales de Cuba) and organized an alternative league, the Liga Nacional (or Players Federation League) in which the banned players could compete. While the quality of play was high, the league was a financial failure and lasted only one winter, 1947/48. [7]

De la Cruz died at the age of 46 in Havana, Cuba.


  1. Figueredo 2003, p. 509.
  2. Bjarkman 1994, p. 324. "Retrosheet Boxscore: Cincinnati Reds 2, Pittsburgh Pirates 1 (1)". Retrieved April 10, 2010.
  3. "Uncertainty on de la Cruz". The Sporting News . March 1, 1945. p. 9.
  4. Treto Cisneros 2002, p. 338.
  5. González Echevarría 1999, pp. 21–22.
  6. Figueredo 2003, pp. 493, 502.
  7. González Echevarría 1999, pp. 44–57. Figueredo 2003, pp. 298–304.

Related Research Articles

Martín Dihigo Cuban baseball player

Martín Magdaleno Dihigo Llanos was a Cuban professional baseball player. He played in Negro league baseball and Latin American leagues from 1923 to 1936 as a pitcher and second baseman, although he excelled at several positions.

Dolf Luque Cuban baseball player

Adolfo Domingo De Guzmán "Dolf" Luque was a Cuban starting pitcher in Major League Baseball (MLB) from 1914 to 1935. Luque was enshrined in the Cuban Baseball Hall of Fame and the Cincinnati Reds Hall of Fame in 1967, as well as in the Mexican Baseball Hall of Fame in 1985.

Diego Seguí Baseball player

Diego Pablo Seguí González[say-gee] is a Cuban former professional baseball player. He played in Major League Baseball (MLB) as a right-handed pitcher for the Kansas City Athletics, Washington Senators, Oakland Athletics, Seattle Pilots, St. Louis Cardinals, Boston Red Sox. and Seattle Mariners. Seguí was a forkball specialist who was the 1970 American League ERA leader.

Mike González (catcher) Cuban baseball player

Miguel Angel González Cordero was a Cuban catcher, coach and interim manager in American Major League Baseball during the first half of the 20th century. Along with Adolfo Luque, González was one of the first Cubans or Latin Americans to have a long off-field career in the U.S. Major Leagues.

José Méndez Cuban baseball player

José de la Caridad Méndez was a Cuban right-handed pitcher and manager in baseball's Negro Leagues. Born in Cárdenas, Matanzas, he died at age 41 in Havana. Known in Cuba as El Diamante Negro, he became a legend in his homeland. He was one of the first group of players elected to the Cuban Baseball Hall of Fame in 1939. He was elected to the U.S. National Baseball Hall of Fame in 2006.

Alejandro Oms Cuban baseball player

Alejandro Oms was a Cuban center fielder in Negro league baseball and Latin American baseball, most notably with the Cuban Stars (East). Born in Santa Clara, Las Villas, he died at age 51 in Havana.

The Cuban League was one of the earliest and longest lasting professional baseball leagues outside the United States, operating in Cuba from 1878 to 1961. The schedule usually operated during the winter months, so the league was sometimes known as the "Cuban Winter League." It was always a small league, generally 3 to 5 teams, and was centered in Havana, though it sometimes included teams from outlying cities such as Matanzas or Santa Clara. The league became racially integrated in 1900, and during the first half of the 20th century the Cuban League was a premier venue for black and white players to meet. Many great black Northern American players competed in Cuba alongside native black and white Cuban stars such as José Méndez, Cristóbal Torriente, Adolfo Luque, and Martín Dihigo. After 1947, the Cuban League entered into an agreement with Major League Baseball and was used for player development. Following the 1959 Cuban Revolution, however, tensions rose with the new Communist government, and in March 1961 the government decreed the abolition of professional baseball.

The Habana club was one of the oldest and most distinguished baseball teams in the old Cuban League, which existed from 1878 to 1961. Habana, representing the city of Havana, was the only team to play in the league every season of its existence and was one of its most successful franchises. In their early history they were known by their colors as the Reds; later they adopted the names of Leones or Lions. Throughout their existence they had a famous rivalry with Almendares.

Adrián Zabala Rodríguez was a Cuban-born professional baseball pitcher. He played parts of two seasons in Major League Baseball for the New York Giants in 1945 and 1949. The 5 ft 11 in (1.80 m), 165 lb (75 kg) left-hander was a native of San Antonio de los Baños, Cuba.

Connie Marrero Cuban baseball player

Conrado Eugenio Marrero Ramos, nicknamed "Connie", was a Cuban professional baseball pitcher. The right-handed Marrero pitched in Major League Baseball from 1950 to 1954 for the Washington Senators. Marrero made his major league debut when he was 38 years old, and was one of the oldest players in the league throughout the duration of his time in the major leagues. He was a popular star in his native Cuba, where he had a long and successful career in amateur baseball, pitching for Cuba in several Amateur World Series competitions, and playing several excellent seasons with the professional Cuban League and the minor league Havana Cubans. His nicknames in Cuba were "El Guajiro de Laberinto", reflecting his rural origins, "El Premier", and "El Curvo."

Henry McHenry (baseball) American baseball player

Henry Lloyd McHenry was an American right-handed pitcher and outfielder in Negro league baseball from 1930 to 1951.

Emilio Palmero Cuban baseball player

Emilio Antonio Palmero was a Cuban Major League Baseball pitcher. He played all or part of five seasons in the majors, spread out over a span of fourteen years from 1915 to 1928. He also pitched extensively in the minor leagues, winning 177 games over 17 minor league seasons between 1914 and 1931. Palmero spent just one full season in the majors, 1921 with the St. Louis Browns, during which he appeared in 24 games with a record of 4–7 and a 5.00 ERA.

The Cuban Baseball Hall of Fame is a hall of fame that honors eminent baseball players from Cuban baseball. Established in 1939 to honor players, managers, and umpires in the pre-revolution Cuban League, by 1961 it had honored 68 players, managers, and umpires whose names are shown on a marble plaque at Havana's Estadio Latinoamericano. After the revolution, however, the Hall of Fame languished for more than 50 years, seldom mentioned or acknowledged and with no new inductees. Following a campaign led by Cuban filmmaker Ian Padrón, a meeting was held on November 7–8, 2014 to reformulate the Hall of Fame and to propose a museum in which it would be housed. The reformulated Hall recognized the original 68 members, and a jury of 25 people selected 10 new inductees—five from the pre-revolution period and five representing for the first time the post-revolution Cuban National Series. The planned site for the new museum is in the José Antonio Echeverría Workers' Social Club.

José Rodríguez (infielder) Cuban baseball player (1894–1953)

José Rodríguez, nicknamed "Joseíto" or "El Hombre Goma" in Spanish and "Joe" in English, was a Cuban infielder who played in Major League Baseball from 1916 to 1918 and in the Cuban League from 1914 to 1939. In the majors, he played for the New York Giants and was primarily a second baseman, while in the Cuban League and the U.S. minor leagues he mostly played first base. A defensive specialist, according to Roberto González Echevarría, Rodríguez "was considered the best defensive first baseman in Cuba" of his time. He was also a long-time manager in the Cuban League and managed for one season in the minors. He was inducted into the Cuban Baseball Hall of Fame in 1951.

Pedro Dibut Cuban baseball player

Pedro Dibut Villafana was a Major League Baseball pitcher who played for the Cincinnati Reds in 1924 and 1925. In 1923 Dibut played for the Cuban Stars (West) in the Negro National League, one of several white Cubans who played in both Negro league baseball and in the then-segregated major leagues.

The Leopardos de Santa Clara were a Cuban professional baseball team based in Santa Clara, Cuba. Founded in 1922, they played in the Cuban League from 1922 to 1925, from 1929 to 1930, and from 1935 to 1941. Although they competed for only 11 seasons, they won league championships in four regular seasons and in one "special season." According to Cuban League historian Jorge S. Figueredo, the 1923/24 team, which went 36–11 and won the championship by ​11 12 games, is "considered as the most dominant team in the history of Cuban baseball."

The Long Branch Cubans were a professional baseball team that played from 1913 to 1916. It was the first U.S. minor league baseball team composed almost entirely of Cubans. Several players, including Dolf Luque and Mike González, went on to play in the major leagues. The Cubans played in Long Branch, New Jersey from 1913 to 1915, except for the first half of the 1914 season, when they played in Newark, New Jersey. In 1916, they started the season playing in Jersey City, New Jersey as the "Jersey City Cubans." Later that summer, they moved their home games to Poughkeepsie, New York, where they were usually referred to as the "Long Branch Cubans." In late July 1916 they briefly moved to Harlem and finally to Madison, New Jersey in August.

Andrés Fleitas Cuban baseball player

Andrés Fleitas [flei'-tasz] was a professional Cuban baseball catcher and first baseman. Listed at 5' 11", 175 lb., he batted and threw right handed.

Agapito Mayor Cuban baseball player

Eleno Agapito Mayor Valenzuela was a Cuban professional baseball pitcher. Listed at 5' 11", 185 lb., he batted and threw left handed.

Terris McDuffie African American professional baseball player; Pitcher; Born: May 22, 1910Mobile, Alabama Died: April 29, 1968 (aged 57); Listed at 6 1" (1.85 m), 200 lb. (91 kg), batted and threw right handed

Terris Chester McDuffie was an American professional baseball player. Listed at 6' 1", 200 lb. (91 kg), he batted and threw right handed.