Happy 100th Connie Marrero
Though fans may not realize it, this April is a significant milestone that connects both the history of Washington baseball and of Cuban baseball. On April 21, Connie Marrero celebrated the 61st anniversary of his Major League debut with the Washington Senators.
And just yesterday, he celebrated his 100th birthday.
Marrero is already the oldest living Major League Baseball alumnus, but this year he will become the only currently living centenarian to play in the Big Leagues.
Born Conrado Eugenio Marrero in Sagua La Grande, Cuba, he was not the most imposing figure on the mound. Though he stood at just five-feet-five-inches, the right-hander made his presence known with a great set of breaking balls in his repertoire. Marrero spent time in the Florida International League with the Havana Cubans before finally making it to “the Show” with the Senators in 1950.
As a 39-year-old rookie, Marrero was one of several of the American League Washington Senators’ Cuban players; the roster included Sandy Consuegra and Camilo Pascual on the pitching staff as well as catcher Mike Guerra. In his first campaign with the Griffs, Marrero appeared in 27 games—starting 19 of them—and finished the season with a 4.50 ERA.
His two best years came in 1951 and 1952. In ’51 he led the Senators in wins, going 11-9, and finished with a 3.90 ERA. He also pitched a one-hitter against the Philadelphia Athletics on April 26 of that year, one of the highlights of his career. In ’52 he would again go on to win 11 games and brought his earned run average down to 2.88, one of the best in the League. Washington improved to a 78-76 record that same year.
Marrero’s Major League career ended on January 24, 1955, when he was released by the Senators. He finished with a 39-40 win-loss record and a 3.67 ERA. He pitched 51 complete games in his time in the Majors, including seven shutouts. And though he didn’t play, he represented the Senators in the 1951 All-Star Game.
After his career in the Majors, Marrero returned to Cuba to become a coach. After the Cuban Revolution, he was one of the few players—and by far the most prominent—to remain in his homeland. He spent his time training players in the amateur baseball leagues, as well as providing instruction to Cuba’s powerful national team. He still lives there today, though he is blind at his advanced age and doesn’t often have the opportunity to leave his grandson’s home. However, he does receive visitors and is said to have a mind as sharp as ever.
So happy birthday, Connie, and thank you for your contribution to Washington’s baseball history.