Documentary about baseball player René Arocha, “the Cuban Jackie Robinson”, premieres in Miami

On November 8, the documentary “René Arocha, the Cuban Jackie Robinson” will be released in Miami, on the occasion of the 30th anniversary of his escape during a trip to the United States in 2021. action that inspired many compatriots who followed in his footsteps.

The material was written, produced and directed by Jorge (Yoyi) Morejón, a sports journalist for the channel America TeVé, who interviewed other great Cuban players who, like Arocha, fled Cuba and continued their careers in the Major Leagues, such as El Duque Hernández, Ariel Prieto and Eddy Oropesa.

“The value that René Arocha has for history is invaluable and I hope that the new generations will know how to appreciate it,” Morejón told Martí News.

Arocha, a star Cuban pitcher, left the national team on July 10, 1991, taking advantage of a stopover that made his flight in Miami.

He was the first player to “desert” from socialist Cuba, and his flight, published then in the official newspaper Granma, paved the way for many of his colleagues who followed in his footsteps in the passing of the years.

“The funny thing is that I did not stay to play in the Major Leagues,” the former pitcher confessed to Morejón in a interview published in 2010.

“I just wanted to live my life without giving anyone an account of my actions. I had never seen a Major League game and only knew José Canseco by name, so, like almost everyone in Cuba, I believed that the players of here they were robots, machines for playing baseball. And I didn’t think that by chance I would have a space between them, “he said at the time.

Born in Regla, municipality of Havana, with only 15 years Arocha debuted in 1979 in National Series with the Metropolitanos team.

Months after his arrival in the United States, he won his first $ 109,000 contract with the St. Louis Cardinals in the Minor Leagues. In 1993 he made his triumphant entry to the Major Leagues by joining the Cincinnati Reds.

The documentary “René Arocha, the Cuban Jackie Robinson” is named after the first black American player to play for a Major League Baseball team in 1948.

In it, the director includes archive images and statistics of the pitcher, and reveals details of his life in Cuba that show the pressure and abuse suffered by athletes on the island.

In the material, Arocha recounts how in 1982, due to a scandal that occurred when members of Industriales sold a game to illegal gamblers, he, who was only 18 years old and was not a member of that team, was investigated and interrogated by the police.

“They were watching me, but they couldn’t prove anything to me,” he said.

“René Arocha …” features photography by Ángel Segundo González, original music by Jorge Arronte and graphic design by Ismar Rodríguez. It lasts 33 minutes and will have its premiere on November 8 at the Museum of the Cuban Diaspora, in Miami.

“Hopefully the Cuban players who shine in the Major Leagues today and earn millions remember that for that it was necessary someone who plunged into the unknown to lead the way. Just as Puerto Ricans wear the number 21 on Roberto Clemente’s day, Cubans should wear July 10, the 43 that Arocha wore with the Cardinals. It would be a nice recognition, “Morejón said.


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Documentary about baseball player René Arocha, “the Cuban Jackie Robinson”, premieres in Miami