The Phils recent signing of Cuban Danys Baez, along with recently reading an excellent article by Michael Lewis about Cuban baseball in Vanity Fair (baseball fans, this is a must read), got me wondering about the Phillies and Cuba. And that led me to Seamheads, which had a writeup about the Phils barnstorming Cuba...in 1911.
The Phillies played their first game against the Almendares club on November 5th and were quickly introduced to Cuban ace Jose Mendez. Virtually every major league team that came to Cuba had an encounter with Mendez and it seemed like every time, it was the Cuban hurler that came out on top. Mendez eventually came over to the States in 1918 to pitch for Chicago in the Negro League but his best pitching days were behind him. On this day though, he was still in the prime of his pitching career, picking up the victory in a 3-1 win over Philadelphia.The Phillies defeated Havana 5-3 the next day but it would be their last win until the 19th. A string of three losses, including a 4-0 shutout at the hands of Almendares left the Phillies with a disappointing 1-4 record on the trip. But the offense finally began to get started on the 19th, when they beat up Almendares by a score of 8-1. Two days later, they squeaked by Havana 7-6. The Phillies would win two more contests before leaving the island on the 24th with a 5-4 record.\