Sources: Cuban baseball pitching coach defects
All players return to Havana
May 4, 1999
BALTIMORE (CNN) -- A pitching coach from the 300-member Cuban baseball delegation sought asylum in the United States on Tuesday, and two to four other delegates are missing following their game against the Orioles in Baltimore, law enforcement sources told CNN.
The defector, identified by the Cuban American National Foundation in Miami as Rigoberto Herrera, 54, did not leave on the team plane which returned to Havana early Tuesday.
Law enforcement sources said Herrera was currently being processed by the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service.
INS spokesman Dan Kane told CNN the agency "cannot confirm or deny whether anyone has applied for asylum in the United States to preserve the individual's right to privacy."
All 30 players from Cuba's all-stars baseball team appeared on stage with Cuban President Fidel Castro in Havana on Tuesday at a celebration in honor of the team's 12-6 victory in Monday's rematch with the Orioles.
Miami-based Cuban-American sports agent Joe Cubas, who has helped several Cuban baseball players defect, confirmed that he had contacts with "a lot of the players" who came to Baltimore, but security was tight and the Cuban players "were rushed out of there" following the game.
In addition to Herrera, up to four members of the Cuban delegation did not board a chartered passenger jet that left Baltimore-Washington International Airport early Tuesday morning for the return flight, the law enforcement sources said.
The win by the Cuban all-stars avenged a 3-2 loss to Baltimore March 28 in Havana, in a game that had made the Orioles the first Major League U.S. club to play on Cuban soil in four decades.
Cuban baseball delegation member defects
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