Send by email

your name: email to: message:
Username: Email: Password: Confirm Password:
Login with
Confirming registration ...

Edit your profile:

Country: Town: State:
Gender: Birthday:
Email: Web:
How do you describe yourself:
Password: New password: Repite password:

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Cuban Baseball Histories: The Nineties (First Part)

Por Fidel Orihuela

Cuban Baseball had lived, probably, only one dynasty in the history of its National Series, when Industriales team won four consecutive championships in the sixties. However, it didn’t remain like that and in the nineties is the decade in which these changes were more patent, with four teams that had an impressive domain over the tournament and one that was starting to arise as a strong team as well.

The first ones to impose their domain were the Henequeneros with two championships in a row, while Villa Clara accumulated three consecutive wins, something that had not happened since the sixties. Pinar del Rio also had two championships while the team from Havana won also two but not consecutively. At the end of the decade, Santiago de Cuba team would win and repeat their victory for three more years.

1990: Although Jorge Luis Valdes had managed to control his rivals for a decade, he had not won any championship with his team, but he would break this curse in 1990 with the Henequeneros team. The left handed pitcher had 26 wins in a row with the National team and he won with the team from Matanzas managed by “Sile” Junco, obtaining wins every three or four days, like an iron armed pitcher. “Tati”, as he is known in Matanzas, achieved the historic leadership of wins in the National Series with 234, a record broken almost two decades later by Pedro Luis Lazo.

1991: Faustino Corrales was one of the most relevant Cuban pitchers but we don’t hear much about him. He was one of the three pitchers with more than 2300 strikeouts. He had a barrel hoop curve and a great command. On November 19, 1991 he achieved the number 34 no hit-no run of the National Series facing the Isla de la Juventud team. Nine years later, on December 20, 200-, he had yet another impressive mark when he gave 22 strikeouts to Holguin in a nine innings game.

1992: Carlos Yanes, from Pinar del Rio, is without any doubt, the most hard working pitcher of the National, with 28 National Series. The right handed is the only one with more than 700 games pitched (714), more than 500 starts (504) and more than 3800 innings pitched (3836.1). As it is only logical, being that much time in the mound he also leads negative categories like home runs and earned runs. Precisely, in 1992, Yanes had a negative record with seven homers allowed in a game, a mark that he shares with the pitcher from Sancti Spiritus, Juan Ramirez y the one from Isla de la Juventud Ariel Prieto. However, he is very much remembered because of his impeccable work ethics and his dedication. He had 235 wins and he is second in this category, more than 2000 strikeouts and a no-hitter against Villa Clara on March 5, 2000, when he was already 35 years old.

1993: When we speak about dynasties in Cuban baseball, there is a special place for Pedro Jove, from Villa Clara, who won three consecutive championships between 1993 and 1995. With Rolando Arrojo, an indisputable leader in the pitchers’ mound, an offensive player like Victor Mesa, great defense players like Rafael O. Acebey and Eduardo Paret, and the experience of Amado Zamora, the Villa Clara team was impressive in clutch games, supported also by the talent and the athletic abilities of Jorge Luis Toca, Eddy Rojas, Oscar Machaco, Michel Perdomo and Ariel Pestano.

1994: In the 33rd National Series, Lazaro Junco equaled and surpassed the 370 homers, a previous mark of Antonio Munoz, who was, until then, the leader in home runs of our National Series. It is not rare then that Lazaro Junco would become the first Cuban player with 400 home runs, because he achieved for ten times the leadership in this category, the last one in 1994, when he was already 36 years old. The strong outfielder was a great power hitter. Between the years of 1979 to 1996 he hit 405 homers, which places him second in the history of home runs in the National Series, only surpassed by Orestes Kindelan. Junco is one of the most underestimated players in the history of the Cuban baseball after 1959, because despite of his power he was seldom convoked to make the National Team.

1995: Rey Isaac was always a great clutch hitter. Wearing the uniform of the Santiago teams, he found a place among sluggers like Kindelan, Pacheco, Gabriel Pierre or Fausto Alvarez. A contact hitter, Isaac excelled at hitting the ball to the opposite field. With this batting system he achieved his splendor in the 34th series, when he chained 37 games with at least one hit. This streak broke Lazaro Vargas mark of 31 and it is still intact after two decades.