It took multiple attempts and Puig faced many dangers along the way, but he successfully defected in 2012, signing a seven-year contract with the Dodgers on June 29.
He had played professionally in Cuba for Cienfuegos during the 2008-09 and 2010-11 seasons. He hit .276 with five home runs and 26 RBIs in his first season and improved to .330 with 17 home runs and 47 RBIs the next season.
Puig reached the Major Leagues the very next summer, sparking the Dodgers in a historic 42-8 midseason run.
He has honored his heritage by hosting Cuban Heritage Days while with the Dodgers. Puig currently resides in Miami.
Michael Lananna is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.