30 for 30 (2009– )
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Brothers in Exile 

"Brothers in Exile" tells the incredible story of Livan and Orlando "El Duque" Hernandez, who risked their lives to escape Cuba. Livan left first--banking on his status as the hottest young... See full summary »


Mario Diaz

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Episode credited cast:
Livan Hernandez
Orlando Hernández Orlando Hernández


"Brothers in Exile" tells the incredible story of Livan and Orlando "El Duque" Hernandez, who risked their lives to escape Cuba. Livan left first--banking on his status as the hottest young prospect in Cuba he defected via Mexico and signed with the Florida Marlins, for whom he became one of the youngest World Series MVPs in history in 1997. Staying behind was Orlando, who was banned from professional baseball in Cuba for life because he was suspected of having helped Livan escape. Then, on Christmas 1997, an increasingly frustrated and harassed Orlando left Cuba in a small boat. He was stranded on a deserted island for days before being picked up by the U.S. Coast Guard. Less than a year later, "El Duque" was helping pitch the New York Yankees to a world championship, completing a most unlikely journey for two half-brothers who rode their arms to freedom and triumph. Written by ESPN Films

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English | Spanish

Release Date:

4 November 2014 (USA) See more »

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Features 1998 World Series (1998) See more »

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User Reviews

A very compelling story.
3 January 2015 | by MartinHaferSee all my reviews

This film is about two brothers--Liván and Orlando 'El Duque' Hernandez. These men were both baseball players in Cuba and this film is about their defections to the United States in order to play Major League ball.

"Brothers in Exile" begins by talking about El Duque and his dominance in international ball playing for the Cuban national team. Although he was a big star, the film soon switches to his brother, who was significantly younger and less famous. Liván was tired of the way he was being treated while he played for the national team and he defected while the team was on the road. Soon he was signed by the Florida Marlins and his incredibly first season in the majors is shown.

Then, the film switches back to Cuba. Following Liván's defection, life for el Duque became very problematic. The Cuban police assumed el Duque was disloyal and soon banned him from playing baseball-- even though he'd spent all his adult life playing for the country and becoming a national hero. Now he faced continued harassment and there appeared to be doubts as to whether he might even be imprisoned. So, seeing few options, Orlando and some friends set out in a small boat for the Bahamas--and he, too, began playing for the majors.

Overall, this film is a very nice portrait of the two men as well as the pressures they faced growing up in Cuba. Despite being about defectors, the film seemed to avoid politics and yet is still very compelling. Well worth seeing and yet another great "30 for 30" film.

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