Adolfo Luque – Cincinnati Reds

Adolfo Domingo De Guzmán “Dolf” Luque (August 4, 1890–July 3, 1957), was an early 20th century Cuban starting pitcher in Major League Baseball. Luque was inducted into the Cincinnati Reds Hall of Fame in 1967.

A native of Havana, Luque debuted with the Boston Braves in 1914. In 1918, he was traded to the Cincinnati Reds, with whom he would play the next 12 seasons. In the notorious 1919 World Series, he appeared in two games as a relief pitcher. Luque also played for the Brooklyn Robins/Dodgers from 1930 to 1931 and with the New York Giants from 1932 to 1935. He was with the Giants in the 1933 World Series, and, pitching in relief, won the 5th and final game over the Washington Senators. He ended his career with a record of 194-179 and a 3.24 ERA.

Luque became a starting pitcher in 1920. Primarily pitching with a curveball, he lead the National League in losses in 1922, then had his best year in 1923, leading the league with 27 wins and an ERA of 1.93. Luque also led the NL in ERA with a 2.63 in 1925. He was known as an adept mentor in the later years of his pitching career, and went on to become the pitching coach of the Giants from 1936-38 and 1942-45.

As a blue-eyed, fair-skinned, white Cuban, he was one of several white Cubans to make it in Major League Baseball at a time when non-whites were excluded. Between 1911 and 1929 alone, seventeen Cuban-born Caucasian players played in the Major Leagues. Many of them including Luque also played Negro League baseball with integrated teams from Cuba. Luque played for Cuban Stars in 1912 and the Long Branch Cubans in 1913 before signing with organized baseball (Riley, 498).

Luque was known to have a temper. While with the Brooklyn Dodgers, a heckler in the stands hollered “Lucky Luque! Lucky Luque!” repeatedly. Luque went over to the dugout and told manager Wilbert Robinson, “I tell you, Robbie, if this guy don’t shut up, I’m gonna shut him up.” “Aw, come on, Dolf,” said the manager. “He paid his way in–let him boo.” Just then the heckler spotted the rotund Robinson and yelled, “Hey, fat belly!” Robinson said, “OK, Dolf–go ahead and clobber the jerk.” Luque obliged his manager’s request.

He is buried at Colon Cemetery, Havana.

Source: Wikepedia

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