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Beloved Maestri, dignity and bravery in every way

Gloria Machado León 4 diciembre, 2017
Every December 4th we celebrate the Day of the Cuban Arbitrator as a tribute to Amado Maestri Menéndez, who filled this profession with dignity.

Maestri was born in Regla, Havana, on December 8th, 1909 and died in the same capital victim of a cardiac infarct on September 22, 1963, at 53 years of age.

From a very young age he approaches baseball as a player with the team of the Amateur Athletic Union, Cubaneleco, representative of the electrical ones, in which he plays the position of catcher from 1928 to 1930.

From that date on, he gave himself up to union work in defense of the workers of the sector and after participating in a workers’ strike in 1935 he was expelled from the Electric Company, so he decided to devote himself to the arbitration of our National Sports.

Maestri came to dominate the rules with accuracy and in the field maintained the respect of the players and managers in addition to controlling everything that could happen in the stadium.

After taking his first steps as referee in the amateur ball, he is hired to provide justice in the Cuban Professional League in which quickly stands out along with Matanzas Raúl “el Chino” Ata, Kiko Magriñat and Bernardino Rodríguez.

One of the most notable facts of his profession occurred when he was acting in Mexico on June 2, 1946, when he expelled from the land the tycoon and boss of that League, Jorge Pasquel, who had taken to the field with his bodyguards to protest a play. .

As expected, the so-called “Mexican baseball czar” pointed out that this was his last game in the league, to which the Cuban replied, “I’m leaving the League and Mexico after the game, but you’re leaving  same of the land now.

Other facts of rectitude and prestige adorned his work in a baseball field, but in which he excelled his dignity was in the then Cerro stadium, on November 24, 1952, when the student leader José Antonio Echeverría and a group of classmates They went to the field with a banner to denounce the excesses of the dictatorship of Fulgencio Batista.

When the young people were brutally attacked by the police, Amado Maestri interposed his authority and did not allow the uniformed men to continue with this abuse by standing in front of José Antonio.

That courageous attitude of Maestri repeated it on December 4th, 1955 in the capital’s own stadium, when another group of students of the FEU goes out to protest the crimes of the regime and again prevents a major beating of the students. That date is recognized after the revolutionary triumph as the Day of the Cuban Referee.

The Reglano was the founder of our National Series and worked behind the home in the first game of these classics, held on January 14, 1962.

On July 24, 1959, a game was organized between the Barbudos and the National Revolutionary Police in Cerro Park, to support the implementation of the Agrarian Reform Law and to hand over the collection of that day for the funds of such a peasant initiative. More than 33 thousand people paid their tickets and broke the record of attendance at the installation.

This was the meeting in which Camilo Cienfuegos had been announced to launch by the police, but at the time of the start he wore the receiver’s harness of the Barbudos, the team where Fidel was going to launch and when he was interviewed by the press about that change, he said the phrase that has been left for posterity: “I am not against Fidel nor even in a baseball game”.

Well, in that rather symbolic game, Amado Maestri acted as the main referee and before the start Fidel went to the home he said a few words and shook his hand.

As Pedro de la Hoz said years later, “it was the recognition of a man of honor, who a few years ago had confronted with righteousness and courage the Batista rage anxious to repress the students who came out to denounce the dictatorship. of Batista. “

Original text by on Dec 4th, 2017

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