Small decisions have huge impacts on the future. This idea is often called the butterfly effect based on the idea that a seemingly innocent minute action in one part of the world could cause something extreme to happen in another part of the world. A butterfly that beats its wings in one corner of the globe and with that single action changes the weather halfway across the world. It is hard to picture but we often don’t know how small things could change the entire world. Imagine a young art student named Adolf Hitler. If he had been accepted into art school would we have ever experienced the horrors of world war two? One story that people often talk about involves Fidel Castro. It is widely believed that he was an incredible baseball player and was wanted by many Major League teams. Is that true? If he had joined what impact would it have had on Cuba?
Fidel Castro was born in 1926 and came from a wealthy family. He was a good student and an athletic person. He played basketball, table tennis, and was an avid runner. He was a baseball pitcher in high school and had quite a good reputation. However whether any Major League teams ever wanted to sign him, is doubtful.
There are many stories told that suggest he was scouted by many great teams, offered contracts, and came within a single moment of signing for the major leagues. Sadly it is just not true. The reports that claim that can be easily disproved. Many say that it was his college ball exploits that made him wanted so much. In reality, he didn’t play baseball in college so that holds no weight.
There is some evidence that Major League teams watched Castro but it was not really by choice. They held tryouts and Castro would attend but he was never the one they wanted. The story likely comes from the fact that Cuba was a haven for some incredible baseball players. Many Major League players would spend the offseason in Cuba and there were numerous reports that the level there rivaled America. Following the revolution in Cuba, Castro actually banned professional baseball in Cuba. This caused many players to defect to America as players were banned from playing abroad at that point. This story may explain partly how the myth of Castro being an exceptional player came to be. Although it sounds good, it was just not that true.
There are many cases of famous leaders who claim to be incredible athletes. Kim Jong-Il allegedly claimed to score 11 holes-in-ones in one game of golf. While we have come to expect strange antics like this from North Korea (although many stories are based on fake news – North Korea never claimed to have won a football world cup) other leaders behaving in this way is always surprising. Yet these ideas come from ancient times.
In the Roman era, Emperors would take to the Coliseum and battle wounded slaves so that they could snag an easy win and look heroic to their people. Whether Castro wanted to be seen as an incredible player or whether it was a myth spread by his followers or even his enemies is unclear. One thing is clear and that is that there is no truth to the story.
While Castro was an above-average sportsperson in his school he never came close to joining Major League Baseball. At the time baseball didn’t earn a lot of money anyway so it was probably not that appealing to a man that had many other options at the time and went on to pursue something very different entirely.