Oldest living ex-major leaguer turns 101

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The oldest living ex-major leaguer is a Cuban by the name of Conrado Marrero.

Marrero, a 5-foot-5 pitcher who played for the Washington Senators from 1950-54, turned 101 on Wednesday, and Paul Haven of the Associated Press was in Havana to document the occasion.

Click here to read the story, but here are some highlights:

  • Marrero is older than Fenway Park.
  • One of his favorite moments was beating the Yankees, yet he says his Senators were “lazy” and error prone.
  • He’s met Babe Ruth, Connie Mack and Dwight Eisenhower.
  • He retired from the majors and returned to play in the Cuban minor leagues, all before Fidel Castro came into power.
  • He doesn’t follow the majors much anymore, but is aware of Jamie Moyer’s comeback (what a whippersnapper!) and Yoenis Cespedes’ exploits.
  • He once had this exchange with Ted Williams: “One day Williams got two home runs off me, and afterward he came up to me and said `Sorry, it was my day today,” Marrero recalled. “I responded, `Ted, every day is your day.”‘

How fun it would be to sit down with Marrero and just let him tell stories all day.

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Jonny Venters is still pitching

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Lefty reliever Jonny Venters was among a handful of players the Rays signed to minor league contracts, Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports.

Venters, 32, hasn’t pitched in the majors since 2012 and has logged just 27 2/3 innings in the minors in the meantime due to a continuous battle with his elbow. According to David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Venters has undergone four — four! — Tommy John surgeries.

When he was healthy, Venters was a fearsome late-game option for the Braves. He posted a 1.95 ERA with 93 strikeouts in 83 innings in 2010, and a 1.84 ERA with 96 strikeouts in 88 innings in 2011. His first-half performance in 2011 earned him a spot on the National League All-Star roster.

Venters has spent the last two years in the Rays’ system and he’ll try to make it a third.