Born: October 3, 1887 - Matanzas, Cuba
Died: September 3, 1960 - La Habana, Cuba
Career BA: .269
Cincinnati Reds NL (1911–1914)
St. Louis Terriers FL (1914–1915)
St. Louis Browns AL (1916–1917)
New York Yankees AL (1917–1918)
One of the pioneers that helped open up the doors for the likes of Tony Oliva, Jose Cardinal and many others, Armando Marsans was the first really good player to come out of Cuba. As a result of several exhibition games between the Cincinnati Reds and Cuba’s finest, Marsans was signed to a Minor League contract after his team took four out of five games from the Reds. After a few seasons, he was called up in 1911 and batted a respectable .261 in a reserve role. The next year Marsans batted a tidy .317 and swiped 35 bases to go along with his capable outfield play.
Known for his speed on the basepaths, Marsans was one of the National League’s bright young stars for a few years. The son of a wealthy aristocrat, Marsans did not need the money from baseball, playing more for the enjoyment and fame. During the offseason he ran a cigar factory that he owned in Cuba. He also owned a successful cigar store in Cincinnati. After an argument with Red’s manager, Buck Herzog, the egotistical and obstinate Marsans took it upon himself to challenge the reserve clause and jump ship to the Federal League in 1914. The National League filed suit and Marsans was temporarily prohibited from playing. The injunction was finally reversed and he was allowed to play in 1915.
After the Federal League folded, Marsans hooked up with the Browns and the Yankees, but a broken leg ended his Major League career. Marsans played in the Cuban Winter League before, during and after his time in the minors and majors, playing for 21 seasons, 10 of them on pennant-winning teams. A noted player-manager in the Cuban League, Marsans continued to manage into the 1940s, and was one of the first inductees into the Cuban Baseball Hall of Fame in 1939.
– Tom and Ellen Zappala, The Cracker Jack Collection: Baseball's Prized Players. For more information on their book and/or to order a copy at a special PSA discount, visit http://crackerjackplayers.com/PSA_order.html