The above broadside advertising a June 11 game between the Cuban Stars and Marshall University dates, according to Getty Images, to 1920. Okay, to be clear they say “ca. 1920.” But it should be immediately obvious to anyone reading the text that it couldn’t be from anywhere near 1920. And it’s fairly easy to establish exactly what year it’s from.
The text, which might be a little small to read, goes like this:
“This team, composed of native Cubans, defeated the World’s Champion Athletics nine out of twelve games. Mendez, considered by many experts as the best pitcher in the world, will probably pitch. Pedrosa, the hitless wonder, is also with them.”
First of all, the reference to Eustaquio “Bombín” Pedroso as the “hitless wonder” refers to his 11-inning no-hit win over the Detroit Tigers in Havana in the fall of 1909, so we know it happened after 1909. The broadside also refers to the Philadelphia Athletics’ fall 1910 visit to Havana after beating the Giants in the World Series. They didn’t actually play the “Cuban Stars” then, but rather the Almendares and Habana teams, and they didn’t lose 9 out of 12 games either (dropping 6 out of 10 instead). So the earliest it could be dated would be June 1911.
Now let’s come at it from the other direction. In 1920 José Méndez was pitching for, and managing, the Kansas City Monarchs, and in June of that year he can firmly be placed with the Monarchs and not either of the Cuban Stars teams.
In fact, at that point Méndez hadn’t played for the Cuban Stars in the United States for eight years. He played for them in 1908, 1909, 1911, and 1912, along with a brief appearance late in the season in 1910, after the Stars of Cuba had folded. Pedroso was his teammate only in 1912, again excepting only brief, late-season appearances side by side in 1910 and 1911.
In other words, Pedroso and Méndez played together on the Cuban Stars in the United States in the month of June only in the year 1912.
And as it happens, the Cuban Stars were in West Virginia and vicinity at that time. I couldn’t find a box score or reference to the June 11 game, but on June 8 Méndez himself took the mound to defeat Daddy Clay’s Giants in Pittsburgh, two home runs by Rafael Figarola featuring the game:
(Pittsburgh Press, June 9, 1912, p. 22)
And on June 14 the Cuban Stars beat the University of West Virginia 12 to 1 in Morgantown. Méndez didn’t appear, but Pedroso did, playing right field, getting a couple of singles, and later coming in to pitch.
(Pittsburgh Daily Post, June 15, 1912, p. 14)
Another way to look at it is that the broadside says the game was to take place on Tuesday, June 11. In 1920 June 11 fell on a Friday. During José Méndez’s whole career in the U.S., which stretched from 1908 to 1926, June 11 fell on a Tuesday exactly twice—in 1918, at which time he was playing for the Los Angeles White Sox, and in…1912.
So I think we can say with some certainty that the broadside was advertising a game that was scheduled to be played on June 11, 1912.
...oh, and here is a picture of me working on this post last night:
UPDATE 1/30/2017: Courtesy of Bill Mullins, here is a report of a June 11, 1912, game played in Huntington, West Virginia, though this report has the Cuban Stars facing the Huntington team rather than Marshall University:
Hopefully for Méndez’s sake, he didn’t pitch the entire 19 innings...