Another Cuban baseball player drafted, this time by the San Francisco Giants

Fabian Peña.
Fabian Peña.

Just when Fabián Peña stopped following the Draft his name appeared on the computer screen.

His girlfriend, Natalie Delgado, was the first to notice and began to shout "they chose you, they chose you," and then there was a huge hug in which family and memories merged.

In Round 25 and 736, the San Francisco Giants chose this Cuban catcher from Manhattan College, who could be — with time and effort — a substitute for future Hall of Famer Buster Posey.

"It was something unforeseen because I had stopped being aware of the Draft and suddenly my name was linked to the Giants," said Peña. "At that moment I felt a tremendous emotion and embraced the whole world. This is a prize for so much sacrifice for me and my family, something I will never forget. ''

To his mind came those times when he started playing baseball in Regla and then in Guanabacoa, where his name was made known to the point of integrating national teams into children's categories.

Recognized as the best catcher in all of Cuba, at the age of nine, he attended a World Cup in 2006 in Sucre, Venezuela, and two years later he returned to another South American tournament as the cleanup hitter for the national team.

"At that time, my idol was Ariel Pestano," Peña recalled, "I really liked the way he defended the dish, the way he led the pitch. Who knows where I would have come from staying in Cuba? But life took me down another very different path. ''

A road that would bring him to Miami in 2011, when his father Jorge Peña, who had left Cuba via Mexico four years ago, claimed him and his mother Daylín to reunify the family in the United States.

The boy was impressed, at age 14, by the number of lights, the roads full of cars, but he barely had time for nostalgia, as baseball began to occupy his life again, first at Miami Senior High and then in St. Brendan.

Peña won a scholarship to study Finance at Manhattan College of New York, but he continued to grow as a catcher and after three years there, the Giants called him.