|Fidel Castro (l.) throws out the opening day pitch in 1960 as Clyde King (r.) watches|
King quickly harked back to an exhibition the Dodgers played in Havana during 1947 while Branch Rickey was preparing Jackie Robinson to join the big league club. Castro proudly reminded the Red Wings manager that he suited up against the Dodgers squad that day.
“When the Dodgers were training, one club stayed in Havana and the other went to the University so we could get more players in action,” King recalled. “Castro said, ‘Do you remember who you pitched against?’ I said ‘No.’ He said, ‘Me!’ I asked him if he remembered the score, he said he didn’t. You know what the score was? 15-1!”
King acknowledged Castro’s support of baseball as Cuba’s flagship sport and his failed attempts to play professionally; however, whatever affection Castro had for the sport was overshadowed by the terror of his reign.
“We found out later he wasn't such a good guy,” King said. “He was terrific baseball guy. He tried to work out for a pro team but he couldn't do it. We sort of wore him out that day.”