In a poll of former Negro League players and sportswriters conducted in the early 1950s, Cristobal Torriente was named one of the best outfielders to play in the Negro Leagues. Known as the “Cuban Strongman, Torriente was born on November 16, 1893 in Cienfuegos, Cuba. The left handed slugger stood 5’11”, 185 pounds, with broad shoulders, and a rifle for a throwing arm.
The following is an excerpt from my book, Last Train to Cooperstown: The 2006 Baseball Hall of Fame Inductees from the Negro League Baseball Era, which profiles the Hall of Fame outfielder:
“Pitchers had a hard time getting him out due to his quick,
powerful swing. They could not throw strikes pass him. Getting him
to swing at pitches out of the strike zone also did not work because
the Cuban was a notorious bad ball hitter. Facing him was an
experience pitchers dreaded.
Many stories have been told as a testimony of the Cuban’s
power when batting. One is about a line drive he hit off the right
field wall in Indianapolis against the ABCs. Supposedly the ball was
hit so hard, it got to the wall so fast, the right fielder was able to
throw the speedy Torriente out at first base. Another story is about
a ball he supposedly hit in Kansas City against the Monarchs. It
smashed a clock 17 feet above the centerfield fence. According to
Torriente’s American Giant teammate shortstop Bob Williams,
“The hand of the clock started going round and round.” It is doubtful
all the stories of balls hit by Torriente are true. But there is no
doubt he was one of the best hitters seen by Negro League fans.”
For more of Cristobal Torriente’s Negro League baseball story, read Last Train to Cooperstown:The 2006 Baseball Hall of Fame Inductees from the Negro League Baseball Era”. For more information, go to www.klmitchell.com or http://booklaunch.io/kevinlmitchell/last-train-to-cooperstown.