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HAD Fidel Castro's revolution not succeeded in 1959, the 1996
Cuban Olympic team might very well include Palmeiro and Canseco,
who immigrated to the U.S. as kids, in addition to highly touted
pitchers Hernandez and Fernandez, who defected as adults. Well,
since this is a Dream Team, we'll pretend that in this new
baseball world order, everyone born in Cuba wants to play for
Cuba. As a result, Palmeiro and Ordonez join a talented infield
of Cuban national team players, including slugger Linares, who
is probably the best amateur player in the world. The outfield
features three Cuban national teamers, including Kindelan, an
old-fashioned slugger who hit .545 with four homers and 11 RBIs
in five games during the Americas Baseball Challenge last
August. On the hill, Hernandez and Fernandez are reunited with
Valle, who has turned down million-dollar offers from the
Yankees, and Prieto, who has yet to realize his great potential.
Throw in two attributes no other Olympic team can
boast--chemistry (most of these guys play together year-round)
and international experience--and Cuba would be a pretty tough
team to beat.


COLOR PHOTO: AL TIELEMANS In a dream world, an already tough Cuban team would be bolstered by Palmeiro (above), Prieto (48) and Canseco. [Rafael Palmeiro] COLOR PHOTO: MICHAEL ZAGARIS [See caption above--Ariel Prieto] COLOR PHOTO: CHUCK SOLOMON (2) [See caption above--Jose Canseco]

CF Jose Estrada, Cuban national team
SS Rey Ordonez, Mets
1B Rafael Palmeiro, Orioles
3B Omar Linares, Cuban national team
DH Jose Canseco, Red Sox
LF Victor Mesa, Cuban national team
RF Orestes Kindelan, Cuban national team
2B Antonio Pacheco, Cuban national team
C Juan Manrique, Cuban national team
Bench Lourdes Gurriel, Cuban national team
Alberto Hernandez, Cuban national team
German Mesa, Cuban national team

P Livan Hernandez, Marlins
P Osvaldo Fernandez, Giants
P Lazaro Valle, Cuban national team
P Ariel Prieto, Athletics