A good story is sometimes hard to beat, but sometimes you wonder, is this really true?
If Only, If Only...
In the late 1940's one of the best amateur ball players was a young man named Fidel Castro. Hearing that there was a hot prospect on the tiny island, the Washington Senators sent the future revolutionary an invitation to try-outs. Castro did not perform well, and was rejected by the team, and sent packing. Upon his return home, he joined the rapidly growing socialist movement, and eventually became its leader. The rest as they say, is history. But is it true?
As fun as speculating on what could have been had Cuba lost its key revolutionary figure to baseball (no revolution, no Soviet allies for Cuba, no missile crisis, no Bay of Pigs), the story is false. Castro was an avid baseball fan, and did a lot to encourage the sport's growth in Cuba, but he was never good enough to play at the professional level. The timeline also doesn't work, by the time he was supposedly trying out with the Senators, Castro was already an ardent and outspoken critic of the Batista regime.
Gaylord Perry is best known for his pitching (and spitballs), certainly not for his batting prowess. After an especially poor batting performance one evening in 1963, he joked with a reporter that "They'll put a man on the moon before I hit a home run." Well, on July 20, 1969 Perry, playing for the Giants, belted his first and only home run of his career. A few minutes earlier, Apollo 11 famously reported "The Eagle has landed." Oddly enough this one is true. However, it is undetermined as to who made the original quote, Perry, his manager Alvin Dark, or fans in general.
Can you knock the Hide Off a Ball?