Connie Marrero: Oldest Players

Connie Marrero: Oldest Players

¡Ex ligamayorista Marrero cumple 102 años!

“He threw every­thing toward the plate but the ball.” —Ted Williams

Con­ra­do Euge­nio Mar­rero, the old­est liv­ing major league base­ball play­er, cel­e­brat­ed his 102nd birth­day in Havana on April 25, 2013 with one of his patent­ed cig­ars. Con­nie passed away just short of his 103rd birth­day on April 23, 2014.

Con­nie Mar­rero pitched 735 innings for the Wash­ing­ton Sen­a­tors in 1950-54, com­pil­ing a W-L record of 39-40. He was named to the 1951 All-Star team but did not play. He left after being scratched from the 1955 ros­ter. (Well, by then he was 43!) He con­tin­ued play­ing Cuban ball and was a base­ball coach there into his 80s.

His best year was 1952, when he went 11-8 with a 2.88 ERA for the 78-76 Sen­a­tors, known for good pitch­ing and light hit­ting. Born in Sagua La Grande, Cuba, he didn’t play his first game in the majors until the age of 38. He was brought up by Sen­a­tors own­er Clark Griffith’s scout, Papa Joe Cam­bria, who spe­cial­ized in plumb­ing Cuba for low-bud­get players.

Mar­rero loved to recall fac­ing off against greats like Mick­ey Man­tle and Will­liams. The Huff­in­g­ton Post quot­ed him: “One day Williams got two home runs off me, and after­ward he came up to me and said `Sor­ry, it was my day today.’ I respond­ed, ‘Ted, every day is your day.'”

Mar­rero stood only 5’5″ but putting on his Sen­a­tors uni­form with its big blue block W “always made me feel big­ger, more pow­er­ful.” And beat­ing the Yan­kees was the sweet­est feel­ing in the world: “They were strong. They were the best. Each bat­ter was a struggle.”

From Tom Deveaux’s The Wash­ing­ton Sen­a­tors 1901-1971:

Man­ag­er Bucky Har­ris was hard­ly enam­ored with the rotund Mar­rero at first sight in 1950…just anoth­er one of Joe Cambria’s projects des­tined to flop. Hard­ly blessed with a deep ros­ter, how­ev­er, Bucky, who’d envis­aged Mar­rero as at least a relief pos­si­bil­i­ty, end­ed up using him pri­mar­i­ly as a starter.

No less a hit­ter than Ted Williams became an admir­er of Connie….Hitters would be sali­vat­ing, anx­ious to get a crack at his knuck­ler, but once Mar­rero got ahead of you, Williams said, you were dead.

After Mar­rero struck out Williams with the bases loaded at Fen­way Park, it became obvi­ous that all was well with Mar­rero and Har­ris. Con­nie walked off the field, proud­ly plopped his glove in Harris’s lap, and pro­claimed, “More mon­ey now.”

Mar­rero, who lived very mod­est­ly, was eli­gi­ble for $20,000 grant­ed him by a 2011 agree­ment between Major League Base­ball and the Play­ers’ Asso­ci­a­tion for finan­cial aid to 1947-79 play­ers who did not qual­i­fy for a pen­sion. But the mon­ey was held up by the U.S. eco­nom­ic embar­go, which made finan­cial trans­ac­tions difficult.

One thought on “Connie Marrero: Oldest Players

  1. Many (most)? play­ers that were born in the US before the Social Secu­ri­ty Admin­is­tra­tion began keep­ing records in the ear­ly 1930s lied about their age. Like­ly all of the Latin play­ers did because there was no record of their birth most of the time.

    My dad, Bill Trot­ter, pitched in the majors from 1937-1944. Lied about his age by 5 years. He was born on the farm where folks did not both­er with get­ting a birth cer­tifi­cate. The Sen­a­tors, always with a slew of Cuban play­ers, were well aware of what went on.

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