Which all time team would win a series – the best from the Serie Nacional or the best Cuban players to play professionally?
Right out of a page of Field Dreams, today I’m going to present the ultimate fantasy matchup for all the Cuban baseball faithful.
The ultimate question is who would win this mythical matchup? Could a Serie Nacional team lead by Omar Linares beat a team of Negro and MLB players lead by the legendary Martín Dihigo.
Picture a packed house in Havana’s Latinoamericano in the ninth inning while Omar Linares comes to the plate with two men on base, Aroldis Chapman is staring him down. What would be the outcome? These events all take place in front of 60,000 rabid fans playing conga and heckling the opposition.
Serie Nacional :
The Serie Nacional team would have such fabled stars as Omar Linares, who was once considered the best amateur player in the world. Sluggers like Antonio Muñoz, Antonio Pacheco, Orestes Kindelán and Luis Giraldo Casanova would provide power for this monster of a team. Also hidden in this lineup would be the toolsy Armando Capiro in the seven spot.
Speedsters like Victor Mesa (The Cuban Rickey Henderson) and Eduardo Paret would sit the table for this Cuban baseball juggernaut that once won 100 straight games between the ’80s and ’90s.
Directing the pitching would be storied catcher Ariel Pestano, a guy Ivan Rodríguez once called a shortstop behind the plate. He would have the choice of either working with lefty Jorge Luis “Tati” Valdés and his 30-1 record in international competitions or Pedro Luis Lazo. Lazo once dominated the powerful 2006 Dominican Republic World Classic team that included Albert Pujols, David Ortiz, Adrian Beltre and Miguel Tejada in its lineup. The crafty Euclides Rojas would be called upon if necessary to put out any fires in the late innings.
My all-time team (Serie Nacional)
1. Víctor Mesa CF
2. Antonio Pacheco 2B
3. Omar Linares 3B
4. Antonio Muñoz 1B
5. Luis Giraldo Casanova LF
6. Orestes Kindelan DH
7. Armando Capiro RF
8. Ariel Pestano C
9. Eduardo Paret SS
RHP Pedro Luis Lazo
LHP Jorge Luis “Tati” Valdes
CP Euclides Rojas
Imagine having to face a lineup that included a murder’s row of Tany Pérez, Tony Oliva, Rafael Palmeiro, Jose Canseco, and Jose Abreu. You had a five tool Cristobal Torriente as your leadoff hitter and the secret weapon of Martin Dihigo in the number two spot, the native of Las Cruces, Cuba could also come in and pitch at any time. The speedy Bert Campaneris would be your #9 guy.
Directing the pitching staff would be a crafty Yasmani Grandal, who can also go deep at any time. Your right would be Luis Tiant the all-time for Cubans in victories. The lefty would be Mike Cuellar, the former Cy Young winner and the closer would be Aroldis Chapman with his 100 mph heater ready to put out any fire.
My all time team (Professionals)
RHP Luis Tiant
LHP Mike Cuellar
CP Aroldis Chapman
Who would win? Who would dominate? The ball is in your court. Give me your opinion.