Legends On Deck

Notable Cuban Ball Players Who Defected During Fidel Castro’s Reign

Livan Hernandez, Pitcher (defected in 1995 and played 17 seasons in the majors)

Livan Hernandez enjoyed the longest tenure for a Cuban ball player in the major leagues.  His 17 seasons saw him play with nine different clubs, but the longest came with the Washington Nationals, as he played in seven seasons with the Nats, two of which were with the now defunct Montreal Expos. Hernandez made his MLB debut in 1996 with the Florida Marlins and finished in second place in the voting for the National League Rookie of the Year in 1997. The two-time All-Star won 178 games against 177 losses, with a career 4.44 ERA, recording 1976 strikeouts in 3189 innings. He appeared in 12 postseason games, winning the NLCS and World Series MVP’s with the 1997 World Champion Florida Marlins. He retired from the game in 2012 at 37 years old. 

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David Conde
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