Dihigo and Torriente Featured in MLB’s Animated Series

Martín Dihigo and Cristóbal Torriente were given a leading role in episode 2 of MLB?s animated series "Undeniable"

By Reynaldo Cruz

Cubans Martín Dihigo and Cristóbal Torriente starred in the animated series Undeniable. The MLB production was intended to highlight the impact and importance of the Negro Leagues. A little more than three years ago, MLB made the decision to recognize these circuits with Major League status.

The first episode focused on the role of women in the Negro Leagues, while the last episode focused on the figures of Jackie Robinson and Monte Irvin. It was in the second, where the international impact was highlighted, that the figures of Dihigo and Torriente appeared as protagonists. Cuba was also mentioned as one of the countries where black ballplayers went to be treated as the human beings they were. We cannot forget that when Jackie Robinson broke the racial barrier, the struggle for civil rights was yet to become strong.

The episode talks about that famous 1920 showdown at Almendares Park II, where Torriente beat Babe Ruth by hitting three home runs in one game. Ruth ended up pitching against the Cuban slugger for his fourth at bat, but he gave up a double. Emphasis is then placed on the career of the “Cuban Bambino” in the Negro Leagues, and his election to Cooperstown.

The production, narrated by Bob Kendrick, president of the Negro League Baseball Museum, then turns to Martin Dihigo. Beginning with the reference to the nickname “El Maestro,” which accompanies his plaque in Cooperstown, Dihigo was revered. Kendrick mentioned Dihigo’s ability to play all positions, and highlighted the fact that he has been inducted to the Hall of Fame in five different countries. “Now, if that’s not international,” the narrator said. “I don’t know what is.”

Subsequently, the animated series highlights the presence of Negro League teams in Japan on friendly tours. the growth of baseball in the Land of the Rising Sun. Had it not been for the international impact of the Negro Leagues, we would not have had stars like Ichiro Suzuki or Shohei Ohtani, among others.

The presence of two of the greatest Cubans in Undeniable is without question a source of pride for Cubans. Dihigo is the greatest baseball player the country has ever produced. In fact, many venture to place him at the pinnacle not only of Cuba and the Negro Leagues, but of all baseball. For his part, Torriente’s story has been mythologized by that game with Ruth. However, his career in the United States, especially with the Chicago American Giants, was fabulous.

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