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The incredible story of how Brayan Pena defected from Cuba and became a major leaguer - A Hunt and Peck

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Read Pena's story about his window of opportunity.

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Brayan Pena has made a career of being a professional backup catcher. Through eleven years in the league his capable defense has served him well in that role. His spirited play and lovable personality have made him a great clubhouse presence. Because baseball is a game, a distraction from the grind of everyday life, it is easy to forget that the opportunity to play it is not something so easily gained for some players. Players like Jose Abreu, Yasiel Puig, and Brayan Pena made great sacrifices for this opportunity. For Pena, the risks were perhaps far greater:

It was my dream to play in the big leagues, but it wasn't like I was some big star and had an MLB team waiting to sign me to a million dollar contract. I was just a chubby 16-year-old catcher from Havana who was a pretty decent ballplayer. If I got caught trying to defect, the consequences would be devastating. Not just for me, but for my whole family.

Now, after sixteen years away from home, Pena was able to return to Cuba during MLB's Goodwill Tour. His story is hilarious, heart-breaking, and incredible. I urge you to read it here:

The Window | The Players' Tribune

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