Historical entry from Mark Langill…
This month marks the 50th anniversary of one of the most unique Spring Training weekends in team history. Because of torrential rains in Florida, the 1959 Los Angeles Dodgers played a weekend series against the Cincinnati Reds at Gran Stadium in Havana, Cuba. Don Drysdale and Sandy Koufax were the starting pitchers and the Dodgers won both games by scores of 3-2 and 4-3.
Reds general manager Gabe Paul called Bobby Maduro, president of the Cuban Sugar Kings of the Triple-A International League, to ask whether he could take his Cincinnati team to Cuba for the weekend. The Brooklyn Dodgers previously trained in Havana in 1941, 1942 and 1947. The 1959 Sugar Kings were managed by Cuba native Preston Gomez, who was hired to manage the Dodgers’ Triple-A Spokane affiliate in 1960. The Havana club relocated to New Jersey on July 13, 1960.
Major League Baseball returned to Cuba 40 years later in 1999 when the Baltimore Orioles faced the Cuban national team in Havana.