Luis Bustamante

From BR Bullpen

Bustamante in 1909.

Luis Bustamante (Anguilla, Buster, The Eel)

Luis Bustamante was a top Cuban defensive shortstop of the 1910s. John McGraw labeled him "the perfect shortstop."

Bustamante debuted in the 1901 Cuban Winter League, hitting .289 and slugging .348 for Almendares. The average was deceptive as he would only have two seasons that good in the remainder of his career in Cuba. In 1902, he fell to .220/?/.250 and .236/?/.236 in 1903. He was 0 for 5 in 1904. He made his US debut with the 1904 All-Cubans. He played third base with Rafael Almeida at short and hit .333 against top black teams. He switched positions with Almeida in 1905. With Club Fe in the winter of '05, he hit .158 with no extra-base hits.

The Eel was 3 for 23 with a double as a bench player for Almendares in 1906, backing up major leaguers Almeida at third and Al Cabrera at short. He hit just .145 with a .180 slugging for Habana in 1907, but his four doubles tied Armando Marsans for the CWL lead and his 12 steals ranked him third. He was the leadoff hitter for the 1907 Cuban Stars in the Negro Leagues. With Habana in '08, he had perhaps his best offensive campaign in Cuba, hitting .323 (third behind Emilio Palomino and Pete Hill) with 23 steals and 29 runs in 40 games; he slugged .345. He fell fast, to .155/?/.182 for Habana in 1908-1909. He hit .188 for the Cuban Stars in 1909 but went 9 for 28 against white major leaguers touring Cuba that fall.

In 1910, Luis hit .357, second-best behind Julian Castillo and slugged .429. He had his best season in the USA in 1910, hitting third for the Stars, and batting .373 to lead eastern black clubs. He moved to second base with Fe in 1910-1911 as younger Pelayo Chacon was at short and hit .175/?/.200. Bustamante backed up Chacon with the Stars from 1911-1913. He was 7 for 33 against the Giants and Phillies in 1911. In 1912, he ended his career in Cuba, at third base for Fe (Cabrera was at short). He hit .270 and slugged .385.

Bustamante was remembered for his comedy stunts that entertained the fans. He had a drinking problem which led to his death at a young age.

In 1939, he was part of the initial class of the Cuban Baseball Hall of Fame.