Cuba's infielder Erisbel Arruebarruena (R) turns a double play as Japan's runner Sho Nakata (L) is forced out during the sixth inning of a first-round Pool A game in the World Baseball Classic tournament in Fukuoka, Japan, on March 6, 2013.
Credit: Kazuhiro Nogi

Conrado (Connie) Marrero, the oldest living ex-major league baseball player in the world, turned 102 on Thursday, reported the Associated Press

Marrero played with the Washington Senators from 1950-1954, where he was called “Conrado the Conqueror," the “Cuban Perfecto” (referring, yes, to the popular cigars), or, simply, “Chico," according to The Society for American Baseball Research.

The baseball veteran had a little get-together in Havana to mark his birthday on Thursday, AP said, adding: 

"He was given an enormous blue and white cake, and savored a glass of wine and a sip of Bucanero, Cuba's domestic beer. Marrero smiled as his family applauded and smothered him in hugs."

Marrero received $20,000 from Major League Baseball this year, said AP, a payment for former players that was held up by the US arms embargo on the communist island nation.  

Hailing him as one of the nation's "grandest baseball legends," The Society for American Baseball Research said Marrero's age has been a long-standing source of controversy: 

"It has often been reported that Washington owner-manager Clark Griffith erroneously believed Marrero was born in 1919 instead of 1911 when he signed him on, but that part of the legend is probably only apocryphal. ... it is nearly impossible to separate Marrero from nostalgic memories of one of the Fabulous Fifties’ most charismatic yet inept teams ... his oversized Havana cigars, his laughter-provoking slaughtered-English phrases, and his whirling-dervish high-kicking delivery [all] while launching the league’s most tantalizing slider and curveball."

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