WILMINGTON — Last October for the first time in six decades, two million residents of Havana, Cuba — many of them baseball-crazy — could listen on radio (and some watch on TV) to the World Series. That’s just the way Tony ‘Tani’ Pérez and his father listened while living in the sugar-mill town of Central Violeta in 1955 as the Dodgers of Cuban native Sandy Amorós upset the powerful Yankees, 1,300 miles away.
In 1960, Tony Pérez took advantage of safe passage to the U.S., as did 14,000 Cuban children over a two-year period during Operación Pedro Pan, a reality that cannot take place in the present environment. The re-lowering of the Coconut Curtain stunts youth and imaginations on both sides of the 93-mile-wide Straits of Florida. The promise held forth in “From Cuba to Cooperstown” is that one day both places can be freely reached and enjoyed without either government curtailing it.
The story of the Cincinnati Reds’ baseball great Tony Pérez is as relevant now as it will ever be, and it’s told in a new book published by Orange Frazer Press and written by John Erardi, who covered Tony Pérez through four decades, from his playing and managerial days to his Hall of Fame Induction and statue dedication.
The book is available via Amazon or www.orangefrazer.com as well as at their office in Wilmington.