Monday, September 28, 2009

GM's and Collectors Eye Cuban Defector Aroldis Chapman

If you play for the Cuban National Team and throw a 100+ mph heater, MLB GM's take notice. It seems every couple of years a young phenom matching that description manages to escape the oppressive regime in Cuba for a chance to play in the Bigs. Defecting today isn't like it was at the height of the Cold War, however, the word, and act, still carries significant meaning and despite our freedom here in the States, it's easy to forget the hardship many people endure to come here for a chance to realize their dreams.

Aroldis Chapman has been designated by MLB as a unrestricted free agents and the Angels, Yankees, Red Sox have all expressed an interest in the flame thrower. His bio in Wikepedi shows a resolute a determined spirt who has been called "one of the worl'd 3 best pitchers not in the majors." Chapman failed at an attempt to defect in the spring of 2008. Following the defection attempt, he was brought to Havana to meet with Cuban President Raul Castro, who gave him a conditional reprieve, suspending him for the remainder of the National Series season and also keeping him off Cuba's national team for the Beijing Olympics, but allowing him to return to the National Series and play in the World Baseball Classic.

Chapman remained determined to defect, waiting for the best moment to arrive. He successfully defected from Cuba while in Rotterdam, Netherlands, where the Cuban national team was participating in the World Port Tournament on July 1, 2009, by walking out the front door of the team hotel and getting into a car driven by an acquaintance.

Chapman already has several rookie cards on the market, all from Topps including Bowman and Bowman Chrome. You can find a complete list of current offereings on eBay, here.

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