Wito y Cefo

Wito y Cefo

One of the pioneers of professional baseball in Puerto Rico. He played in the first tournament of the Puerto Rico Semi Professional Baseball League in 1938. He was a powerful right-handed pitcher who played for several island teams, including the Guayama Brujos, the Mayagüez Indios and the Caguas Criollos. Because of his statistics, he is considered one of the best pitchers in the history of Puerto Rican professional baseball.

Ceferino Conde Faría was born August 29, 1910, in the town of Juana Díaz. There is little information about his infancy and adolescence. However, it is known that he was interested in baseball at an early age. By the late 1920s, he was a mascot for the Juana Díaz Jacaguas, an amateur team for which his older brother, Juan Conde, played. During the 1930s, he played for several amateur baseball teams on the island, including the Juana Díaz Poets.

On June 29, 1938, the Puerto Rico Semi Professional Baseball League was officially organized and attached to the Public Recreation and Parks Commission. Six municipalities met the requirements to obtain a franchise: San Juan, Humacao, Ponce, Mayagüez and Caguas. The first season of semi-professional baseball on the island began that same year.

Ceferino Conde joined the semi-professional team in Guayama, the Brujos. In the inaugural season, he stood out as one of the best pitchers with seven wins and 62 strikeouts. Guayama won the title in the 1938-39 season after defeating the San Juan Senators.

In the following season (1939-40), the Brujos again won the championship series after winning the final four games against the Santurce Senators. Cefo Conde won 12 games and recorded an ERA of 2.54 in 181 innings pitched. In 1940, Conde left the Guayama Brujos and joined the Mayagüez Indios. He is mainly associated with this team, for which he played for 12 seasons. He compiled his best statistics as a member of the Mayagüez team.

On September 14, 1941, the Puerto Rican league became the Puerto Rico Professional Baseball League. In the following season (1942-43), Cefo Conde recorded 10 wins and 69 strikeouts, becoming the leading pitcher in both categories during the season.

In the 1948-49 season, his performance helped the Indios win their first championship. The team represented Puerto Rico in the first Caribbean Series, which took place in 1949 in Havana, Cuba. Championship teams from Cuba, Panama, Venezuela and Puerto Rico participated in the competition.

As part of the Mayagüez Indios, Conde won a total of 68 games. In 1958, he joined the Caguas Criollos, where he played just one season. On that team, he was teammates with his son, professional baseball player Ramón Luis “Wito” Conde. Afterward, he retired from the sport. Over the length of his career, he won 87 games, putting him in seventh place among all pitchers in wins in the Puerto Rico Professional Baseball League.

On November 8, 1992, Cefo Conde was inducted into the Puerto Rican Professional Hall of Fame. Additionally, the municipality of Juana Díaz erected a monument in his honor and the Mayagüez Indios retired the number he wore while played for that team, 13. On January 21, 2010, at 99 years of age, he attended the Oldtimers Game, which celebrated seventy years of baseball and sixty years of softball in the municipality of Coamo.

References:

Bjarkman, Peter C. Baseball with a Latin Beat: A History of the Latin American Game. Carolina del Norte, EE.UU.: MacFarland & Co., 1994. Google Books. Web. 14 febrero 2010.

Bjarkman, Peter C. Diamonds Around the Globe: The Encyclopedia of International Baseball. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 2005. Google Books. Web. 14 febrero 2010.

Córdova, Jaime. Béisbol de corazón. San Juan, P. R.: Ediciones Callejón, 2007. Impreso.

McNeil, William F. Baseball’s other all-stars : the greatest players from the Negro Leagues, the Japanese leagues, the Mexican League, and the pre-1960 winter leagues in Cuba, Puerto Rico, and the Dominican Republic. Carolina del Norte, EE.UU.: McFarland & Co., 2000. Google Books. Web. 14 febrero 2010.

Van Hyning, Thomas E. Puerto Rico’s Winter League: A History of Major League Baseball’s Launching. Carolina del Norte, EE. UU.: McFarland, 2004. Google Books. Web. 14 febrero 2010.

Author: Grupo Editorial EPRL
Published: September 08, 2014.

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