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Cristóbal Torriente

  • Series: Diamond Heads '15
  • City: Havana
  • Team: Leones
  • League: Cuban National League
  • Hall: Cuban Baseball Hall of Fame, National Baseball Hall of Fame

Cristobal Torriente (1893-1938) had the Babe Ruth build (stocky with spindly, slightly bowed legs) and, more than that, he had a Ruthian swat. He punched his ticket to the Hall of Fame by starring in Cuba and America’s Negro Leagues. In 1920 he was dubbed the “Black Babe Ruth” during an off-season exhibition against Torriente’s Almendares club versus the New York Giants who brought the Babe along. Per his Cooperstown plaque, Cristobal outhit and out-homered the Sultan of Swat over the nine game series, earning a nickname for the ages. Like the best Cuban players, Torriente had been playing at home and in the States for black franchises since 1913. He soon caught the attention of J. L. Wilkinson who signed him for the “All Nations” squad for several years. He helped lead the Chicago American Giants to the first three pennants in the Negro League. The left-handed batter (the Ruth parallels just kept coming) not only hit for power but was often around .400. Fleet of foot (sorry Babe) Torriente was a marvel in the outfield despite his physique and he had a great arm. A rival manager, C.I. Taylor, once remarked “If I see Torriente walking up the other side of the street, I would say, ‘There walks a ballclub.’” He averaged .344 over a long career in black baseball and set the Cuban Winter Leagues record at .350 overall.

  • Sadly there was another way in which Torriente patterned himself after Ruth. He loved the nightlife and frequently over-indulged which led to fights with umpires and management. His alcoholism took a dire toll, plunging the slugger into poverty where he fell victim to tuberculosis and an all-too-early death at 44
  • The Cuban Hall of Fame was inaugurated a few weeks after Cooperstown’s. Torriente was among the initial class of ten in 1939
  • Elected to Hall of Fame: 2006

Auction History

Pop Lloyd

  • Series: Pilgrims
  • City: Havana
  • Team: Leones
  • League: Cuban National League
  • Hall: National Baseball Hall of Fame

John Lloyd (1884-1964) was one of the best shortstops in baseball history. Called by whites the “Black Wagner,” Honus himself deemed that association with Lloyd an honor. Lloyd was a pillar of black baseball with a lifetime Negro League BA of .343. He also spent 12 seasons in the Cuban League, batting .329.

  • Babe Ruth called Lloyd the best baseball player ever
  • Elected to Hall of Fame: 1977

Auction History


T201 Mecca Canvas: Charles Hickman