Eduardo Bauta Baseball Memories

Ed Bauta

Eighty-four year old Ed Bauta was age 28 when he threw the last pitch in a pro baseball game at the Polo Grounds, October 12, 1963. He found success as a starter in Mexican Pacific League (winter ball) and Triple-A Mexican (summer) League—23-5, 23 complete games, seven shutouts for 1973 Poza Rica Petroleros. His February 1974 Caribbean Series, facing Tigres del Licey and the Criollos de Caguas, highlighted his winter ball career in Cuba, Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, Nicaragua and Mexico. He also pitched for the St. Louis Cardinals and Casey Stengel’s New York Mets.

The righty relied on a three-quarter delivery sinker. He pitched in the final New York Mets game at the Polo Grounds, September 18, 1963; got last three outs for the National League, October 12, 1963 Latin American all-star charity game at the Polo Grounds; lost April 17, 1964 Mets home opener at Shea Stadium. The work ethic that got Bauta to the majors was from long hours of farming and sugar cane cutting in Florida, Cuba. His favorite manager was Vern Benson. Craig Anderson is Bauta’s longest-lasting friend from baseball. Carlos Bernier was also a close friend.

Bauta, after being traded to the Mets in 1963, felt he should start for them, but this was not to be. “I adored Casey Stengel,” said Bauta. “I admired him and he knew more [baseball] than anyone else in baseball. Sometimes, on the plane, he was drinking vodka and spoke to me…spent most of his time with the 40 (New York) writers after home games.”  

Bauta pitched in the October 12, 1963 Latin American all-star charity game at the Polo Grounds, AL, with manager Héctor López, versus the NL, managed by Roberto Clemente. “I was married, living in New York City, at an apartment near the Polo Grounds,” said Bauta. “Had my own car, which I shipped to the Dominican Republic. But I did not pitch well—we were up 5-0 in the ninth; I gave up two runs; felt like I LOST it for the National League…wanted to shut out the AL.”

Orlando Cepeda said it best, “It didn’t matter that it was for charity and that it wasn’t a ‘real’ all-star game. When you put on your uniform, you played hard and tried even harder to win. And that’s what everybody did in that game.” Thirteen Cubans, four Puerto Ricans, four Dominicans, two U.S. players, plus one apiece from Mexico, Panama, and the U.S. Virgin Islands played. Juan Marichal got the win; Pedro Ramos took the loss.

Bauta reinforced Ciudad Obregón Yaquis, February 1974 Caribbean Series, hosted by Hermosillo. On February 1, he pitched 7.2 scoreless innings in relief versus Caguas, in the Criollos’ 2-1 win. Two nights later, he went the distance in a 5-1 win, a four-hitter, over the defending champion Licey Tigers, managed by Tom Lasorda. Bauta gave up a first inning run and three hits, but only a Bill Buckner single the rest of the way. This effort helped Caguas win the 1974 Caribbean Series.

On February 6, he pitched two relief innings, allowing an unearned run after a Steve Garvey infield hit and two errors. He enjoyed drinking with Héctor Espino. “Héctor was my Hermosillo roommate,” said Bauta. “He drank a lot, but was a tremendous hitter. I was drunk before and after each [1974] Caribbean Series game. Bauta was the 1974 Series All-Star right-hander: 1-0, 0.48 ERA, 11 strikeouts, one walk, and 18.2 innings; Espino, All-Star first baseman and MVP.

Bauta had a 20-year baseball career, a gift to someone born in Florida, Cuba, on January 6, 1935, Three Kings Day. His father worked in the sugar cane industry. Ed dropped out of school at 10 to help him, and did this until age 20. Bauta also picked yucca, played baseball when time allowed. Bauta’s favorite Cuban Winter League team was Almendares, winners of first Caribbean Series, February 20-25, 1949. Bauta’s SABR bio by Tom Van Hyning:

There you can read about his pitching for Marianao and Havana in Cuba; Santurce Cangrejeros in Puerto Rico; Estrellas Orientales in the Dominican Republic; Oriental de Granada in Nicaragua; Ostioneros de Guaymas and Poza Rica in Mexico.

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