Armando Marsans

  • Card series: Diamond Heads '15
  • City: St. Louis
  • Team: Terriers
  • League: American League, Federal League
  • Hall: Cuban Baseball Hall of Fame

Armando Marsans (1887-1960) was the first Cuban to make a real impact in the major leagues. Frank Bancroft had spotted Marsans and Rafael Almeida in exhibition games in 1905 and finally brought them to Cincinnati in 1911. In his sophomore season with the Reds, Marsans hit .318 with 35 stolen bases and only 17 strikeouts in 448 plate appearances, placing a respectable 18th in Chalmer’s Award voting for 1912. A row with fiery manager Buck Herzog resulted in Marsans seeking a job with the new Federal League’s St. Louis Terriers in ‘14. When the league folded, Marsans signed on with the Browns but inactivity took a toll. Two years with the Yankees ended his MLB career in 1918 but Armando had many more years of baseball left. He continued to play winter ball back home through the 1928 season and became the first to play in the majors and the Negro Leagues in 1923 with the Cuban Stars. Marsans thrived as a manager in both Cuba and the States (another first for his countrymen), finally retiring in 1947 after 43 years in baseball.

  • The blue-blood Marsans was well-educated and an entrepreneur as well as a savvy baseball mind. Nevertheless, the Reds fended off race-baiting accusations in 1911
  • Artist’s Note: Images of Marsans are fairly rare and it is not uncommon for me to take liberties with dates and uniforms. This photo was taken in 1916 when Marsans was with the St. Louis Browns. In anticipation of the feedback I will receive, I’d like to invite you to join me in pretending this is a St. Louis Terriers’ uniform. Cheers!
  • Elected to Cuban Baseball Hall of Fame in its inaugural class: 1939

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