Oldest League Baseball player Dead at the age of 102. He was 102, just two days short of his 103rd birthday. Grandson Rogelio Marrero confirmed the death Wednesday afternoon. “Connie” Marrero, as he was known in the States, was celebrated for his power and for his attendance on the mound regardless of standing just 5 feet 5 inches tall and weighing 158 pounds. What Marrero lacked in heat he made up for with a complicated collection of breaking balls, knucklers and other off-speed pitches. He also had an unusual windup that Felipe Alou once equated to “a cross between a windmill gone berserk and a mallard duck trying to fly backwards.”
He began his career playing third base, shortstop and in the outfield, and his first appearance on the mound came by accident one day in 1935 when his Sagua club didn’t have a usual pitcher obtainable. Marrero won the game, and the team asked him to stay put at the position. He went on to play at Cienfuegos, Almendares, Marianao and Havana, and temporarily in the Mexican league in 1945 for the Indios of Juarez. He also starred on Cuba’s national team.
In five years with the Washington [D.C.] Senators, Marrero compiled a 39-40 record, with 297 strikeouts. He was named to the American League All Star team in 1951. Cut by the Senators four years afterward, he went back to Cuba to play for the Havana Sugar Kings and stop working in 1957. He was privileged by the Cuban government as a Hero of the Republic of Cuba in 1999. After the age of 100, Marrero was sightless and limited to a wheelchair, with hearing and speech complicatedness. Reporters state he spent much of that time listening to Cuban baseball on the radio and frequently chewing on a cigar and forever prepared to recall about his Major League career.
“Putting on that uniform always made me feel bigger, more powerful,” Marrero said in 2013, on his 102nd birthday. Marrero became the oldest living ex-Major Leaguer in February 2011 after the death of previous Brooklyn Dodgers infielder Tony Malnoisky. The difference now goes to Mike Sandlock, a 98-year-old former catcher who played 195 games with the Braves, Dodgers and Pirates. Sandlock was born Oct. 17, 1915. In current years, Marrero established $30,000 from Major League Baseball under a disbursement program for players who were active between 1947 and 1979. The funds had been postponed for two years by difficulty related to the U.S. economic and financial embargo on Cuba.