The weekend box office totals are in. Let's check them out. As expected, the action/comedy Pain & Gain staring THE ROCK and MARKIE MARK is #1. The latest Sci-Fi thriller from TOM CRUISE INC. is #2. No surprises there. However, the film at #3 is a shocker. The movie '48' chronicles the amazing story of JACKIE ROBINSON, the first African-American to break the color barrier in baseball. While you already know about the Brooklyn Dodger slugger...you might have missed another story about a former Major League hero from yesteryear in the news this week. On Thursday, the oldest living former baseball player CONNIE MARRERO turned 102 years old.
Never heard of Marrero? Don't feel bad...he played in only four seasons for the Washington Senators in the 1950's. The right-hander was known for his deadly curve ball which earned him the uncreative nickname "El Curvo." His career 297 strikeout victims included legendary players like Joe DiMaggio, Ted Williams and Nellie Fox. A confused slugger Felipe Alou called Marrero's delivery: "A windup that looked like a cross between a windmill gone berserk and a mallard duck trying to fly backwards." Try hitting that pitch!
Unfortunately, Connie Marrero never got to pitch to fellow barrier-breaker Jackie Robinson. Back then, there was no regular season inter-league games, and the Washington Senators had only one World Series appearance in 50 years! However, Marrero and Robinson did both appear in the 1951 All-Star Game in Detroit for their respective leagues. While Jackie made movies about his experience, Connie tried to stay out of politics and only talked baseball. However, in 1999, he was asked by Fidel Castro to throw out the first pitch in a friendly game between the Cuban National Team and the Baltimore Orioles in Havana's Estadio Latinamericano. However, Marrero continued throwing pitches. He didn't yield until Manager Sparky Anderson came up to the mound and grabbed the ball out of his hand.
|Fidel Castro and Bud Selig: BFF's.|