Bernardo Baró

From BR Bullpen

Bernardo Baró

  • Bats Left, Throws Left

Bernardo Baró was a top Cuban player of the 1910s and 1920s.

Baró debuted in the USA with the 1913 Cuban Stars. He first appeared in the Cuban Winter League in 1915-1916, hitting .250 for San Francisco. In 1916-1917, he batted .382 for Almendares and would have led the CWL had he qualified. He hit .218 for the Cuban Stars in 1917 and went 2-2 on the mound; he never pitched regularly back in Cuba. In 1918, he batted .130 for the Stars and was 2-3. On July 21, he had his best game as a pitcher, throwing a no-hitter against the Indianapolis ABCs. Moving to the outfield full-time in 1919, he hit .320, third-best among midwestern black clubs behind Pete Hill and Oscar Charleston. In 24 games against white major leaguers that fall, he hit .271. In 1919-1920, he hit .352 for Almendares, second in the CWL behind Cristobal Torriente. Bernardo led the league with 105 at-bats, 21 runs and 37 hits.

Baró hit .364 for the Cuban Stars in 1920, second in the new Negro National League behind Jimmie Lyons. He went 6 for 14 in an exhibition series against the New York Giants. He struggled with Almendares in 1920-1921, going 5 for 34 with a double in a reduced role. He batted .327 in 1921 and stole 23 bases, tying Lyons for third in the NNL. The Cuban season shut down early in December 1921 after Bernardo started 5 for 15. He moved to the eastern edition of the Cuban Stars in 1922; there was no organized league in the east that winter so statistics are unavailable.

Bernardo starred for Almendares in 1922-1923, hitting .401 to win the batting crown. He also led the league with 12 doubles and tied Torriente for the most hits (61). His 13 steals were second-most, two behind Torriente. In 1923, Baró hit .366, 5th in the Eastern Colored League behind Biz Mackey, Pop Lloyd, Jud Wilson and fellow Cuban Alejandro Oms. He fell to .293 for Almendares in 1923-1924.

In 1924, Baró had leg surgery following a fracture, which reduced his speed. He moved to first base for the next couple years in the US, though he continued to patrol the outfield back in Cuba. He hit .353 in '24 and also managed the Stars for part of the year. He hit .412 in 1925, third-best in the ECL behind Wilson and Charleston. In 1925-1926, the veteran hit .309 for Almendares.

The left-hander hit only .205 for the Cuban Stars in 1926 while moving back to the outfield. In 1926-1927, he batted .309 once again for Almendares, followed by a .277 mark in the US in 1927. He batted .246 for Almendares in 1927-1928, .284 for the Stars in 1928, .311 between two Cuban Winter League teams in 1928-1929 and .315 in 1929, his best average in four years. That year, he had a mental collapse. He recovered to join the Kansas City Monarchs in 1930 but he died after a quick illness that summer.

Overall, Baró hit .311 in the Cuban Winter League, fifth all-time behind Torriente, Oms, Lloyd and Willie Wells. He was inducted into the Cuban Baseball Hall of Fame in 1945.

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