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Wednesday, February 4, 2009

They just call him Don Miguel: Don Miguel Cuevas!

By Jorge Navarro Torres.

They just call him Don Miguel: Don Miguel Cuevas! For the followers of the Cuban baseball over the last four decades, the name of Miguel Cuevas Piedra, is a compulsory reference of discipline, steadfastness and love to sports.
When professionalism in the sports was eradicated in Cuba, the teams and those baseball players the fans loved with passion also disappeared.

Those who substituted them had dedicated enough time in “minor” championships and leagues in the interior of the Island.

Miguel Cuevas, was born on February 24, 1935, in a farm called El Carrión, but being a child, his family moved to other zones within the province of Camagüey.

He relates how he always liked to practice sports and even he wanted to become a boxer or a basketball player; nevertheless baseball marked his life forever.

The famous League of Pedro Betancourt, in the province of Matanzas, in Cuba’s Western zone, or the Popular League, which was organized in the Eastern part, saw him growing up and becoming an outstanding athlete till January 1st, 1959, when awesome changes began to happen in the nation.

Cuevas participated in a Championship summoned by the General Direction of Sport already in 1961. His performance there allowed him to be included in the shortlist of Cuba’s baseball team that competed in the World Championship held in Costa Rica.

The opening of the First National Amateur Baseball Series occurred on January 14, 1962. Miguel Cueva dedicated 13 years of his life to such tournament, and participated in the Central American and Caribbean Games, in San Juan, Puerto Rico, in 1966, and in the Pan-American Games held Brazil, in 1963; and in Winnipeg, Canada, in 1967.

As an athlete, Miguel Cuevas distinguished himself for his innate intelligence and although many people believed he was a great slugger, he admits having enjoyed much batting hits resulting in runs scored for his team.

In his career as a baseball player, Cuevas never won a series for his province. Once he was national champion, but then he played for Orientales at the sixth season in 1966, when in spite of his poor offensive average, he took the lead in the RBI.

And why Don Miguel?

The phonetically similarity between his first name Sol and Don, caused the confusion, so people began to call him “Don”, which Miguel Cuevas actually deserves, because of his noble nature, discipline, and the of course the respect and love the public feel for him.