By Yasel Porto
The protagonist of my article is in a category that has worked at all times and everywhere, and in which its members have had to focus on a job that monetarily helps them and their family more depending on the complex economic environment that surrounds them. Many have been able to alternate with baseball, but in the end, like Norberto Acosta, sooner or later they have been forced to define themselves and baseball has been the loser.
He was one of the greatest talents that the Cuban capital had in the initial decade of the current century. His passage through the minor categories, the Provincial Series and a little of the Development League heralded a successful future in the sport of balls and strikes.
His primary position was first base and he occasionally played outfield ends. He could not do anything else to the defense because he was left-handed to field and hit, this last aspect that was his unquestionably strong point.
With a physique where his height stood out more than his pounds, Acosta impressed me from the first moment I saw him, and like me, many others considered that it was just the beginning of a player who would end up in Metropolitans and Industrials at least. Others with less talent had gone further than that even.
But overnight, his name was no longer felt, not even with the Cerro municipality in the Provincial Series. It was not until recently that one of his contemporaries reminded me of it and my interest in what his friends know as “Pipito” came to the fore again. They told me that he was in Germany with a very peculiar job that we will talk about at another time, and after establishing contact with him we agreed to do a special program to talk about various issues of the past and present. And of course that among them could not miss the reason why nothing more was known about him in our baseball world.
“I studied in Fajardo and played baseball without many problems at first, but then things started to get complicated from an economic point of view and one day my dad told me that I had to look for a job because he couldn’t help me anymore because of everything. the burden on him. I barely earned 213 pesos at school and that’s where the money came from for my mom and the rest of the family. In the end what I had left for myself was 50 pesos. I fell for the baker, in this case as a bread vendor on the street”, began Norberto, who pointed out that for the moment he was able to stay in the sport. But one fine day everything changed forever.
“At first I could do everything without much complication, but as my role in baseball grew, things got more difficult. Sometimes I had to spend a good part of the day in a field with all that that entails, and the sacrifice was too hard, especially in the Development League stage, and then I slept for just 20 minutes and went out to sell bread until nightfall . And on top of that was the Fajardo (University). At the end of the day he had no strength at all and the next day he returns to the field”.
“So when I was barely 20 years old I sat down and had to let go of something because that was unsustainable, and it ended up being the ball that had to lose. A university degree is always something very important and being a baker was what provided part of the income in my house. I couldn’t do anything else,” continued the then-talented left-hander born in the Villa Clara province and who, when he moved with his parents to Havana, lived in Santos Suárez.
“For me it was hard to make that decision because I loved playing ball. But you had to be objective because there was also the fact that many times you saw that in the same Development League there were other players who received more opportunities and one stayed on the bench without being able to show the level. That also influenced the decision, especially because I was worried about prioritizing the ball and that later I would not be able to develop enough and that lost time would have other consequences.
Acosta said that his economic problems were not the lack of a plate of food every day. “It was about the basic needs in the life of a young man, to dress better, to go out, to attend to his girlfriend. Those kinds of issues are also important.”
Norberto finished with an interesting anecdote about a bad day he had selling bread. “It was a terrible day and I ended my tour at the Latin American stadium where I met several friends who were playing for Industriales, such as Deynis Suárez, Frank Camilo Morejón, Juan Carlos Torriente and Eliú Torres, and I hid the wheelbarrow with the bread because I didn’t care. It’s a bit sad that they saw me like this. It gave me great joy to see them and talk with them, and at that moment I also felt a bit sad because maybe I could have been there too. But those are the things of life and it already belongs to another stage. In the end, what happens is convenient,” he concluded.
After his trade as a traveling bread vendor on the streets of Havana, Norberto Acosta’s professional life was full of variety. To this day, he went through jobs that many cannot even imagine, but in which he had positive enough results to continue to improve himself in life and build friendships that currently profess an admiration and affection for him that could be verified in the interview on our website. YouTube channel.
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SAY WHAT? Talented baseball player changed his dream of playing in Industriales for selling bread in the streets of Havana