Major league teams visited Cuba nine times from 1908-13, each time in the fall following the regular season’s end:
1908 Cincinnati Reds went 6-7-1 against Cuban teams.
1909 AL champion Detroit Tigers (minus Cobb and Crawford) went 4-8.
1909 “All Stars,” composed of all major league players: 2-3.
1910 Detroit Tigers (full strength): 7-4-1
1910 World Series champion Philadelphia Athletics (minus Collins and Baker): 4-6.
1911 Philadelphia Phillies: 5-4.
1911 NL champion New York Giants: 9-3.
1912 World Series champion Philadelphia Athletics (full strength): 10-2.
1913 Brooklyn Dodgers (minus Zack Wheat): 10-5.
Overall major league teams were 57-42-2 in Cuba during this period, for a .585 winning percentage. Their winning percentage in the preceding regular season was a collective .569, so the Cuban teams appear surprisingly strong. Of course, you have to account for the major league teams not always bringing a full-strength roster to Cuba: certain star players didn’t accompany their teams, and generally only three pitchers were taken. This last didn’t have as much effect as you might think; pitchers were generally expected to finish their games in those days, and the usual schedule in Cuba was three games a week, meaning each pitcher started once a week.
Below are the (almost) complete batting statistics for players on Cuban teams (including African-American players) vs. major league teams, 1908-13 (including players with 50 or more plate appearances). Three games from the Athletics’ series in 1910 are missing from this compilation, because I don’t have box scores for them. The A’s lost two of these, so their absence probably hurts the Cubans and African Americans.
(click to enlarge)
The “OPS+” for these hitters is normalized to the overall averages of each series the player participated in, with pitchers removed. I used the formula from baseball-reference.com (OPS+ = 100*(OBA/lgOBA + SLG/lgSLG -1), with series averages replacing league averages. Aside from my posting of these same stats on the Hall of Merit site a few months ago, this is the first time (to my knowledge) that comprehensive statistics on these series have been published.
That “23” in the stolen bases column for Ricardo Hernández is not a typo.
A future post will have more on Carlos “Chino” Morán, a Cuban of Chinese descent who is one of the overlooked stars of this period.