Merida baseball legend ‘El Coronel’ dies at 94

Leonel "El Coronel" Aldama Rossel died Monday at 94.
Leonel “El Coronel” Aldama Rossel died Monday at 94.

Merida, Yucatan — The legendary Cuban-Yucatecan baseball player and manager Leonel “El Coronel” Aldama Rossel died today at 94.

He died at Clinica de Merida, where he was admitted last week.

He leaves a great legacy. Starting in the 1940s, “El Coronel” played for the Red Devils and the Sultans of Monterrey, after leaving his hometown of Los Arabos, in the Cuban province of Matanzas.

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In 1954, he arrived in Yucatan when he was transferred to the Cardenales de Motul, which he managed years later. He was with Ciudad del Carmen in the Peninsular League, winning several championships between 1959 and 1962. His pilgrimage also took him to other cities including Puebla and Ciudad Juarez.

He was manager of Los Venados in the Southeast League (1964, 1965 and 1966), and began managing the Leones in 1971. 

Aldama Rossel was a third-base coach, responsible for advising baserunners on whether to stop at second and third base or to continue running; and assistant coach at various points in his career. He was also in charge of promoting morale in the locker room. 

His number 29 was immortalized by the Leones in 2007, and last year he was enthroned at the Yucatecan Sports Hall of Fame. Among his extra sporting exploits, he liked to talk about the time he was among the baseball stars featured in the 1952 movie “El Beisbolista Fenómeno.”

After retiring from the diamond, his house was his favorite place to enjoy “the ball,” since he always and punctually sat in his room to listen to all the games of the Lions on the radio . 

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Services will be noon next Monday at Quevedo Funeral Home in Merida.

Source: Leones

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