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Charlie Cuellar

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Jesus Patracis Cuellar

  • Bats Right, Throws Right
  • Height 5' 11", Weight 183 lb.

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[edit] Biographical Information

Charlie Cuellar who was often referred to as the "Marco Polo of the minor leagues", started his 17-year tour of pro baseball with the Decatur Commodores of the class B Three-I League, signing as an amateur free agent at the age of 17 in 1935. His schooling had finished when he graduated from junior high school in his native Tampa, FL. He went 3-7 in 22 games. Unknown at the time, it would be 15 seasons and ten teams in eleven leagues before Cuellar would get his one shot to face major league hitters in 1950.

Cuellar was 0-1 for the 1939-1940 Almendares club in the Cuban Winter League.

The young pitcher hung together five straight seasons of double-digit wins from 1938 to 1942, with his best year coming in 1942 when he led the Bi-State League in three categories, a 22-6 record and a 1.67 ERA while striking out 204 batters; he pitched 248 innings for the Leaksville-Draper-Spray Triplets club. The Chicago Cubs liked what they had seen and signed Charlie before the 1944 season. He went 16-7 for the Nashville Volunteers, helping them to the play-off title of the Southern Association that year.

The Cubs assigned Charlie to the Los Angeles Angels of the Pacific Coast League in 1945, where he won 13 but lost 17. He was 1-4 for Marianao in Cuba that winter. In May of 1946, the Cubs dealt him to the Tampa Smokers of the Florida International League. He went 11-5 with a 1.57 ERA and led the second-place Smokers to the play-off championship. 1947 saw Cuellar go 15-7 with a 2.14 ERA for the second-place Tampa team, but he had a bright spot in the season when he no-hit the league-winning Havana Cubans 5-0 on July 23rd.

Charlie went 17-10 in 1948 and 17-15 in 1949, both with the Smokers, but no cigar - and probably the worst thing that could happen to Charlie the Chicago White Sox signed him as a free agent on July 1, 1950 and put him on a big league mound. In the short span of 10 days he appeared in two games, with no decisions, but put up a 33.75 ERA and the White Sox released him on July 10th.

Cuellar did salvage most of his hurt by winding up the year with a double-digit win number, going 7-3 with the Lakeland Pilots before his debut, and 7-4 with the Memphis Chickasaws afterwards - for a split season 14-7 mark with a 2.25 ERA. He was 1-0 with a 5.40 ERA for Marianao in the 1950-51 winter. Charlie spent three more seasons (1951-1953) in the minors, ending up in the same league that he started this trip in, going 5-4 with the Keokuk Kernels of the Three-I League.

Charlie finished up his active playing days with 17 seasons under his belt (1935-1953), pitching over a three-decade period, and showed a very good 209-139 record and a 2.82 ERA while pitching 2,942 innings. He sat out the 1937 season, reportedly because he was injured, and in 1943, he was a victim of the closing down of a number of minor league circuits because of World War II; he played briefly in the Piedmont League before returning home to Tampa where he worked in a Navy shipyard and played in a local amateur league.

He did try his managing skills with the Lakeland Pilots in 1950, when he was the first of two who handled the club to a 57-93 record. Charlie was also the first of four managers for the Tallahassee Rebels in 1954 when they finished 22-76.

After baseball Cuellar became a self-employed master craftsman and builder in his native Florida and passed away October 11, 1994, at the age of 77 in Tampa, FL.

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