Chapman was born on February 28th, 1988, in Holguin, Cuba. Chapman shared an apartment with his parents and two sisters, who were both under the age of 18.
Chapman’s father was a boxing trainer and eventually worked for the city as a municipal employee. His mother was a stay-at-home mom.
To further their studies, Chapman’s paternal grandparents fled Jamaica for Cuba. Their surname name can be traced back to English settlers in Jamaica in the late 1600s, but they were not a well-known family.
At the age of 15, Chapman was asked by a friend to join a local baseball team. Initially, he was assigned to play first base, but his coach soon saw that Chapman had the arm strength to transition to the mound, and thus Chapman began pitching in 2003.
Raul Castro granted Chapman an amnesty after he failed to defect from Cuba in the spring of 2008, suspending him for the rest of the National Series season and denying him a place on the Cuban national team for this summer’s Olympic Games, but enabling him to return in 2009 to play in the WBC.
On July 1, 2009, Chapman stepped out the front door of the team hotel and got into a car driven by an associate before successfully defecting from Cuba while the Cuban national team was competing in the World Port Tournament in Rotterdam, Netherlands.
In the same competition, Gerardo Concepción left the Cuban national squad. Chapman eventually relocated to Andorra, where he filed a free agency application with MLB.
Meet Juan Alberto Chapman Benett and Maria Caridad De La Cruz
Aroldis Chapman is the son of Juan Alberto Chapman Benett and Maria Caridad De La Cruz. Chapman’s father Juan Alberto was a boxing coach who eventually became a city employee.
His mother Maria Caridad was a stay-at-home mother. Chapman’s paternal ancestors moved to Cuba from Jamaica to pursue higher education.