Immensely appealing winner's medal issued to Cuban baseball player Miguel Caldés Luis at the Atlanta 1996 Summer Olympics. Gilt silver, 70 mm, 180 gm, by Malcolm Grear Designers; manufactured by Reed and Barton. The front, inscribed "XXVI Olympiad Atlanta 1996" with Olympic rings, shows a ‘Seated Victory’ holding a laurel wreath and palm branch, with the Colosseum looming in the background; the reverse, inscribed "Centennial Olympic Games," features the Atlanta logo and a stylized 'Quilt of Leaves' olive branch pictogram of a baseball player. The medal is engraved on the bottom edge with name of the sport: “Baseball.” Includes the original green-and-gold ribbon (separated at seam), the attractive wooden display case, laser-cut on the lid with the centennial host logo and lined on the interior in black felt, and an official diploma for the Centennial Olympic Games, issued to “Gold Medalist and Olympic Champion Miguel Caldes.”
The baseball tournament was held at the Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium between July 20 and August 2, with a total of eight teams competing. After edging powerful squads from Japan, Nicaragua, and the US earlier in the tournament, the Cuban national team moved into the gold medal round as the only undefeated team left. In a rematch with Japan, Cuba won the contest 13-9 and departed the tournament with an average of 13 runs per game. Cuba has since set the standard for Olympic baseball, securing medals in each of their five appearances, including three golds and two silvers; baseball was not an Olympic sport in 2012 or 2016. The recipient of this gold medal, Miguel Caldés Luis, normally a third baseman, started left field for Cuba in the 1996 Olympics, hitting .324 with three HRs, 10 runs, and 13 RBIs in nine games. He was three-for-four with two runs and an RBI in the gold medal game over Japan. He tragically lost his life in a car accident at the age of 30, only three months after winning a silver medal at the 2000 Olympics. A remarkable Olympic keepsake intimately connected to one of Cuba’s finest ballplayers. From The Mason Dinehart Collection.
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