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CONRADO MARRERO :

In 2003, in the occasion of his 91st birthday, he was surrounded by his relatives and neighbors of his home place in Havana. In the celebration, while he smoked a cigar, his lucid mind went back to bring, one after another, vivid anecdotes of his past as one of the best Cuban pitchers of all times.
He was born on April 25th, 1912 in a ranch named "Laberinto" (labyrinth), located in Sagua La Grande, Villa Clara province, in Cuba's central region. Actually, he has been nicknamed "Guajiro de Laberinto" (Farmer from Laberinto) after his birthplace.
This living legend of Cuban baseball is among those who is in favor of long championships and even claims that it is good for players to participate in at least 150 games every year.
During his childhood, he had to work in several agricultural tasks. Those were not times to think about baseball, although he was always passionate about it. Being rather short and stout, his anatomy did not have any attributes that could foresee a triumphant career in baseball.
At the age of 37, his amateur career began with the Cienfuegos team. With that team, he won 127 games and lost 40 from 1939 to 1945. In that span of time, he took part in five world championships and was chosen Most Valuable Player in one of them.
As a professional pitcher in Cuba he had 68 victories against 46 defeats, always playing with the Almendares Club. In Florida, playing with the Havana Cubans his figures were 70-25.
Thus, he was 39 when he arrived to Major League Baseball. Playing for the Washington Senators, he achieved 39 victories and 40 defeats, despite being in one of the weakest teams of the American League.
In spite of the negative balance in won and lost games in the "big show", the Laberinto farmer was praised by the great Ted Williams, a man who was not characterized by praising his own or others' virtues.
This right-handed pitcher always displayed an enviable control. During his active life as a sportsman, he pitched four no-hit-no-run games and was the first pitcher to ever defeat the United States team in a world championship (1939).
Although having a biotype with nothing to be envied, Marrero stood out because of his intelligence and control, mainly with his curve, his best weapon. Not by chance, he was so admired by that phenomenal batter named Ted Williams, a man who was not precisely very fond of compliments.
On the occasion of Marrero's 88th birthday, I asked him when he was going to retire. The answer was quite obvious: "Never -he said- when death arrives, may it come and find me in a baseball field…"




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