Estevan Enrique “Steve” Bellán

Estevan Enrique “Steve” Bellán
Career  Major League Baseball Player
Born October 1, 1849 
Died August 8, 1932
Nationality Latino American 

Estevan Enrique Bellan was in search of better opportunities for his life when he immigrated to the United States. He ended up becoming a very popular Major League Baseball player and helped to further establish baseball as a spot in his home country, Cuba.

Early Collegiate Game Time

Estevan was the youngest of three and was born in Havana to his Irish Mother and Cuban Father. In 1863, he and his brother left Cuba to get their higher learning at St. John’s College in New York. They attended St. John’s, a Jesuit preparatory school (today called Fordham University), until 1868.

Estavan had already been exposed to baseball while growing up in Cuba. American sailors had introduced Cubans to the game long before. He took interest in the school’s extracurricular programs and decided to join The Fordham Rose Hill Baseball Club, the college’s official competitive baseball team, where he was nicknamed “Steve” by his teammates.

Professional Play

At 18 years old, Estavan graduated school and began to play professionally for his new team, the Union of Morrisania. The Union of Morrisania was part of the National Association of Professional Baseball Players (NAPBBP) and Estavan was part of their national team, for one season, in 1868. Esteban Bellan was the first Latin American to ever join a major league baseball team. 

The following year, from 1869 to 1870, he played for the Troy Haymakers, which was still an amateur team at the time. Eventually the team did join the NAPBBP. He competed in Troy Haymakers’ 29 games. During his 128 at-bats, he recorded 32 hits and had a batting average of two-hundred fifty. He was distinguished and ranked 8th among the league’s greatest with his nine bases on balls.

After playing 23 out of 25 games for the Troy Haymakers in 1872, he signed and proceeded to play 8 games for the New York Mutuals as a second and third baseman in the season of 1873.

His NAPBBP career statistics concluded at the record of batting two-hundred fifty-two in a total of 60 games. He was called “The Cuban Sylph” due to his ability to play with speed and grace, as well as doing it while stopping hard-hitting balls on the bases.

Homecoming

In 1874, Estevan moved back to Cuba where he helped to establish and promote baseball. In the same year he became known as the “Father of Cuban Baseball” after organizing the first formal Cuban baseball game where his team bested Club Mantanzas. Estavan hit three home runs during the game.

From 1878 to 1886, he simultaneously played and managed for the newly founded Havana team, known as the “Habana Club.” He led the club to three National Championships in the Cuban Baseball League.

On August 8, 1932, he died at the age of 82 in Havana, Cuba. Fordham University, his alma matter, inducted him to the school’s Hall of Fame in 1990.

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