Back in the 1940s, Cuba was just a sunny little country with a U.S.-backed government, and Fidel Castro was just a student at the University of Havana who loved baseball. Castro was a pitcher for the university's baseball team, and he threw such a great curveball that Major League Baseball teams began sending scouts to check him out. The Pittsburgh Pirates even sent a few of their players to test out the young pitcher, which resulted in Castro striking out future Hall of Famer Hank Greenberg.
In 1949, the then New York Giants offered Castro a juicy contract that included a $5,000 signing bonus to come play baseball in the United States. Castro was already politically active and critical of U.S. imperialism at this time ... and yet he still took several days to think over the offer, consulting with his friends and family about what he should do. Eventually he turned down the contract, which took the Giants completely by surprise: Apparently, he was the first Latin American to say no to them.
"Thanks, but being a communist dictator pays pretty well, too, it turns out."