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El Duque

Mike SteffanosMonday, June 4, 2007
By Mike Steffanos

We had some discussion on this site about Orlando Hernandez after his impressive win over the Giants last week. Eduardo S. Fernandez left a comment with a link to a terrific story on Hernandez by Doug Padilla of the Chicago Sun-Times in January of 2005. Among other things, we learn that there was an El Duque, Sr., and read details of El Duque's escape from Cuba.

Eduardo's comment is quoted below:

DD's comments on "El Duque" are right on the money. He was larger than life in Cuba. I am a native Cuban and follow that countries baseball as well as I can from this distance. He was among the best of the best from that island nation. The problem would be that he was probably not even the best in his family. See "El Duque" Is actually "El Duque Jr". His father was the original "El Duque" and quite possibly the best Cuban pitcher to ever walk onto a pitching mound!

Here is a link to an article that might give people a little more appreciation what people like "El Duque" go through to live their lives with a larger degree of freedom. And a paragraph on his father the "Real" "El Duque" at the end. Luckily I came here in a plane in 1961 after the revolution!


About Mike: I was the original writer on this web site, actually its only writer for the first 15 months of existence. Although I am grateful for the excellent contributions of my fellow writers here, I have no plans of stepping back into strictly an editorial role. I started this thing in the first place because I love to write and I love the Mets, and blogging here keeps me somewhat sane. If you haven't had enough already, more bio info can be found here.

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Comments (5)

Wow. That was great. Fantastic insight. I appreciate the pointer to that link.

Man. Bases loaded, none out in a tie game is not pressure for this man. Move El Duque up several notches in my estimation of his value to these Mets.

Here are a couple of articles about the original "El Duque" I think some of you might enjoy .

My father was a big fan of the Luque team . Which had none other than Tommy Lasorda come and try to pitch for it one winter . He drank , ate and chased women till the wee hours of the morning continuously and got bombed so bad in his first few starts that he was shipped back to the US pronto . My father has always disliked Lasorda after that and even till this day !



As you will find out Arnaldo "El Duque" Hernandez was a lot like a modern day Babe Ruth , Mickey mantle or Whitey Ford in Cuban baseball . Except he stayed a pitcher for the most part . But you scan see the similarities in lifestyles and these types always seem to become the biggest legends . Arnaldo was/is and probably always will be a legend in Cuban baseball . Unlike Lasorda , and like the others famous Yankees mentioned above Arnaldo could be out all night wreaking havoc and chasing skirts and still perform the next day on the field .


My father has always disliked Lasorda after that and even till this day !

Wow! I got lots in common with your family!


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