Monday, July 23, 2012

Tulane vs. Club Atlético de Cuba (1910)

On January 1, 1910, the Cuban Athletic Club football team made history by defeating Tulane by a score of 11-0. This was the first victory of a Cuban football team over a North American squad.

Assuming they would replicate the success of LSU in 1907, the Tulane football team appeared overconfident in the lead-up to the contest. Several articles from the Daily Picayune in December 1909 reported that "no great difficulty in licking the Cuban aggregation is expected," "the boys have been practicing a little for the coming contest, but do not believe there is very much need," "They anticipate a victory when the battle is over at Almendares Park," and "they think they will bring home most pleasant recollections of a triumphant taking of Havana."
Photo of Tulane team from 1909. Taken from
University of Florida vs. Vedado Tennis Club 1912 game program.
The game did not go as they had envisioned it. The Daily Picayune account described it best with "Tulane was beaten from start to finish" and that they were "outweighed and outplayed" by the Cuban Athletic Club who had "several former members of first-class college teams" (As a side note, most athletic club football teams had former college players). The game was also a social event with the highest representatives of Havana society in attendance.

Photo of Club Atlético de Cuba team from 1909. Taken from
University of Florida vs. Vedado Tennis Club 1912 game program.

With this victory, the Cuban Athletic Club capped an exceptional year for Cuban teams in international games. In November and December, the 1909 American League Champion Detroit Tigers (except Ty Cobb and Sam Crawford) traveled to Cuba and played twelve games against the Almendares and Habana Baseball Clubs. The Tigers went four and eight during the series, including a few embarrassing losses against the integrated Cuban teams.

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