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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Report: Major League Baseball bans transactions with Mexican League teams

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Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports reports that Major League Baseball has banned all transactions with Liga Mexicana de Beisbol (LMB), popularly known as the Mexican League. As of now, all 30 teams are prohibited from signing players under contract with LMB teams. The ban was issued due to Major League Baseball’s contention that “corruption” and “fraud” run rampant in the player acquisition process.

Passan describes the issues in detail, and they sound pretty compelling. The upshot: LMB clubs — which have full control over their players — are taking advantage of them, taking most if not all of the signing bonuses MLB teams give them after negotiating for their rights. Mexican teams often sign players when they’re 15 years-old so that, once they are old enough for American teams to approach them, they’re in the position to take a usurious cut.

Passan says Major League Baseball is demanding greater transparency from LMB before it’s willing to lift the ban. He also says that the MLBPA is in “lockstep” with Major League Baseball on the matter, which makes sense given that, if MLB’s claims are accurate, players are being exploited here. He also says that if LMB does not change its ways, there is a “Plan B,” though it’s not clear what that is.

There aren’t a ton of Mexican players signed by MLB teams each year, but there are enough to make this a significant issue that is worth watching.