Smackwagon Launches Nicaragua’s “Mr Baseball” Carlos Jose Garcia Torrealba Solorzano
Carlos Garcia is one of the great organizers in Nicaraguan baseball history. He founded the Nicaraguan Amateur League in 1970. As a president of the Nicaraguan Baseball Federation (FENIBA), Garcia was also a crucial figure in the success of the Nicaraguan National Team during the 1970s. During this decade, he tirelessly lobbied the International Olympic Committee on behalf of baseball.
Shortly after the Sandinistas overthrew the government of Anastasio Somoza, Garcia went to prison, as mentioned in Daniel Okrent’s book Nine Innings. The sentence was for ten years, but he wound up serving 1,640 days, as President Ronald Reagan noted in a White House briefing for Central American leaders on March 25, 1985 at which Garcia was present.
In 1991, then Nicaragua’s minister of sport, Garcia described what happened in a Sports Illustrated article about Dennis Martinez.
“‘I never belonged to any political party, but the Sandinistas said the CIA wanted to control international baseball.’” Garcia was never given a trial, just a 45-minute reading of the charges against him, and then he was imprisoned for 4 1/2 years. ‘My job, my property were lost,’ he says. “It was like a grenade exploded and shattered Nicaragua into a thousand pieces.’”
Carlos Garcia has remained active in many capacities since then. As of 2008, he served as secretary general of the Nicaraguan Olympic Committee (CON).