Connie Marerro Passes
Former Cuban ace and Washington Senator pitcher Connie Marerro died today, two days before his 103rd birthday. He pitched for the Senators for five years, starting his major league career a few days before his 39th birthday in 1950. He won 39 major league games and was one of the few bright spots on some Senators’ teams that were usually going nowhere, even making the American League All-Star team in 1951.
Marrero was a tiny right-hander (he’s listed as 5’6″) who didn’t start pitching until age 27, after starting his amateur career in Cuba as an infielder. He had a strange and deceptive pitching motion (and probably well more than one) which Felipe Alou described as looking like “a cross between a windmill gone berserk and a mallard duck trying to fly backwards.” He threw breaking pitches — sliders, curves and a knuckler — which bedeviled opposing batters.
Marrero was extremely gregarious and was famed for his quotes in broken English, his always present cigars and his good humor, all of which made him the most popular Senator of his era. Here is SABR’s biography of Marerro, if you want to read more about him.