Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
As was common among wealthy Cuban-Catholic families, Bellan and his brother Domingo were sent to the United States to study at Fordham, a Jesuit institution. During his time at Fordham, he played for the newly created Fordham Rose Hill Baseball Club. Founded in the late 1850's, the Rose Hill's played the first ever nine-man team college baseball game in the United States against St. Francis Xavier College on November 3, 1859. After being graduated in 1868, Bellan played for the Unions of Morrisania, who originated baseball in the Bronx and called themselves the "Champions of the World" around 1866. Morrisania played near the spot where the old Melrose station of the Harlem Railroad was located (Yankee Stadium was built in 1923 almost in the same place).
More than a half-century before Jackie Robinson broke baseball's color barrier, the Troy Haymakers employed Bellan, a Latino player in a league which otherwise was entirely lily-white. Nicknamed "The Cuban Sylph" for his elegant and stylistic play at third base, Bellan played for the Haymakers from 1869-1872. The Haymakers in 1871 joined the nascent National Association, which was the forerunner of the National League in 1876. Later the Haymakers became the New York Gothams (1883-1884) and New York Giants (1885-1957), now the San Francisco Giants since 1958.
After his time with the Haymakers, Bellan played with the New York Mutuals in 1873, and then returned to his homeland. He compiled a personal record of a .252 batting average, with 69 hits, 52 runs scored, 42 runs batted in, 9 doubles, 3 triples and 5 stolen bases in 60 games played.
From 1878-1886 Bellan served as both a player and manager for the recently founded Habana baseball team, playing in the first organized baseball game in Cuba on December 27, 1874. Club Habana defeated Club Matanzas, 51 to 9, in nine innings. Bellan led Habana to three Cuban baseball championships (1878-79, 1979-80, 1882-83). He was also inducted into the Fordham University Hall of Fame (1989-90).
- Esteban "Steve" Bellan's career statistics at Baseball-Reference.com
- Bellan page at Fordham University Libraries
- Troy baseball history at Troynet
- Yankee Stadium (origins) article at USA Today
- National Association page at Baseball Reference
- Troy Haymakers page at Baseball Reference
- New York Mutuals page at Baseball Reference
- Famous First Foreign Players at Baseball Almanac
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