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Castro's Curveball

A book by Tim Wendel

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Fidel the pitcher

  • May 27, 2010
This well-written book examines the question of whether Fidel Castro ever signed a contract to pitch in the major leages. Of course, it's a fiction book, but seemingly based on some facts. The author concludes that Fidel did sign such a contract, but you must read the book to get all the details, and how and why it happened.

Reading this book is almost like having a tour of Havana in the late 1940s.with all its glitter, glamour, and sinfullness. It's almost as if the author had been there during that time, and visited the places about which he writes. Of course, he was too young to have done that, so his imagination and research appears quite excellent.

We have a story of an early 30s (in years) American ball player working in the winter league in Cuba, who happens upon an interesting young college student who has an excellent curveball. That student is Castro, before he became the leader of the revolution that brought him to power in the late 1950s. In this book he is just beginning his anti-government journey, and it shows him in a somewhat human way, with both virtues and vices.

There is a love story, and a nostalgic journey back to Cuba by the now much older player, which takes place in the late 1990s. It's a bittersweet story of love, longing., loneliness and revolution. It's well worth reading, if only for the views of old Havana, and the idea of what might have been if Fidel's contract had actually existed, and he came to America to play basll.

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Frank J. Konopka ()
Ranked #93
I'm a small town general practice attorney in the hard coal region of Pennsylvania. Books are my passion, andI read as many of them asI can. Being the President of the local library board for over … more
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About this book


Everybody has a past; some are more intriguing than others. When retired schoolteacher Billy Bryan's daughter begins cleaning his house a few days after his wife's death, she finds in the forgotten pages of his dusty scrapbook part of a past she's never known. The memories they invoke send the grieving Billy--"I think God has fed me a breaking ball to keep me off balance"--and his daughter on a remarkable journey back to his youth, where, as a major-league hopeful, he played winter baseball in Cuba half a century ago. It was there that his life changed when he crossed paths with a young student radical with a dynamite curve and a revolutionary's fire named Fidel Castro.

Wendel's lustrous prose and imaginative storytelling paint a vivid portrait of a life not just lived, but inhaled against a backdrop of a nation mad for baseball and not far from political and social upheaval. Having caught Castro's extraordinarily feathery curveball in an exhibition, Billy befriends the future leader, falling under his charismatic spell and enormous dreams for a new nation. Billy also falls, deeply, for a beautiful Cuban photographer who is so caught by Castro's visions that destiny deems the strands of their lives can never twine. "Castro was a hurricane unto himself," Billy recalls. "When I first met him, that side of him seemed refreshing, almost funny in a strange way." But the closer he got to Cuba's future leader, the more that would change. Just how much--and at what personal cost--is ...

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ISBN-10: 0803259573
ISBN-13: 978-0803259577
Author: Tim Wendel
Publisher: Bison Books

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"Fidel the pitcher"
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