Henry Urrutia


henry_urrutia_on_september_7,_2013On Stat-urday, we looked at the stats of two of my favorite Cuban players, Henry Urrutia and Dariel Alvarez. This week, we’ll take a closer look at each of their careers.

Henry Urrutia was born in Las Tunas, Cuba, on February 13, 1987, and played for Las Tunas in the Cuban leagues from 2005 to 2010. The league suspended him in 2010 after a failed attempt to defect, but the following year he successfully defected to Haiti. After that his baseball career took him to the U.S., Venezuela, and Mexico. In 2012, he received a $778,500 signing bonus when he signed with the Baltimore Orioles. He made his minor league debut with the double A Bowie Baysox in April 2013, and was promoted to the Triple A Norfolk Tides in on June 28 and made his MLB debut on July 20 the same year. Though h was optioned back to Norfolk on August 17, he was recalled in September.

Urrutia played in the Arizona Fall League for the Surprise Saguaros in 2013. Between 2014 and 2017, he played for the Gulf Coast League Orioles, Bowie, Baysox, and Norfolk Tides, with a few games in Baltimore. He also played for the Leones del Caracas in the Venezuelan Winter League in 2015 and 2016 and the Mexican Pacific Winter League in 2016 (with the Charros de Jalisco). After starting the 2017 season with the Tides, the Orioles released him in May. He signed with the Red Sox that June and was assigned to the double A Portland Sea Dogs. The Red Sox granted him free agency in November 2017.

Urrutia joined the Cardenales de Lara in the Venezuelan Winter League in 2017 and then signed with the Diablos Rojos del Mexico for the 2018 season. He was traded to the Guerrors de Oaxaca in August. He played again for the Cardenales during the 2018 winter season before he was released to make room for Paulo Rodrigo. Most recently, Urrutia was picked up by the Charros de Jalisco in mid-December.

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Ermidelio Urrutia in 2015 (photo via Wikipedia)

Beyond the stats and the litany of teams played for, baseball is a lifelong pursuit for Urrutia. He is the son and cousin of former Cuban players. Henry’s father, Ermidelio Urrutia, played in the Cuban leagues for approximately 16 seasons and was a member of the 1992 Cuban National team that won the Olympic gold medal. He later managed Henry  as well as his cousin, Osmani Urrutia. In addition, Henry was in the stands at Estadio Latinoamericano in 1999 when the Orioles went to Havana to play the Cuban National team.

Good luck to Henry and Los Charros in the playoffs!

~ baseballrebecca

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Stat-urday, 1/12/2019


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Henry Urrutia with the Orioles in 2013, photo by Keith Allison via Wikipedia

The Mexican Pacific League championship semifinals began yesterday with four teams: Cañeros de Los Mochis v. Yaquis de Obregón and Vendados de Mazatlán v. Charros de Jalisco. I am particularly interested in the Charros because two of my favorite former Baysox – and Cuban baseball defectors – Henry Urrutia and Dariel Alvarez, are on the team.

Urrutia began his career with Las Tunas in Cuba, where he played from 2005 to 2010. He signed with the Baltimore Orioles in 2012 after defecting to Haiti in 2011. He played in the Orioles system until they released him in 2017. Urrutia then signed with the Red Sox and was assigned to their double A team through the end of the season before being given free agency in November 2017.

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Dariel Alvarez with the Orioles in 2015, photo by Keith Allison via Wikipedia

Alvarez played for Camaguey in Cuba from 2006 to 2012 first as a pitcher, then as a first baseman. He defected to Mexico and played in the Mexican League before signing with the Orioles in 2013. Alvarez played in the O’s system through 2017. He elected free agency in November 2018.

Below are Henry and Dariel’s stats. The MPL semifinals continue tonight.

Happy weekend!

~ baseballrebecca

 

Henry’s stats:

League (Years) Games Runs Hits HR RBI Avg
Cuba (2005-10) 355 209 394 33 219 .350
AA (2013, 2015-16) 190 101 226 15 104 .321
AAA (2013-18) 335 166 381 26 171 .299
MLB (2013, 2015) 34 8 25 1 8 .272
Winter Lgs. 2015-18) 136 82 151 11 80 .304

 

Dariel’s stats:

League (Years) Games Runs Hits HR RBI Avg
Cuba (2006-12) 434 203 418 45 216 .292
A (2013, 2015) 15 7 22 2 8 .400
AA (2013-14) 100 54 117 15 69 .300
AAA (2014-16) 304 137 344 21 140 .285
MLB (2015-16) 14 3 8 1 1 .250
Winter Lgs. (2017-18) 102 60 124 18 71 .310

 

Films on Fridays: “Cuban Players in the United States”


As I think more about my recent trip to Cuba and the new agreement between MLB and the Cuban Baseball Federation, I still have a lot of questions. So, I’ll be doing more research on this over the next few weeks. One question I have, is what becomes of the players once they get to the U.S.? Can players who recently defected return to Cuba to visit family, or do travel restrictions remain?

A couple years ago, MLB Network produced a brief video on Cuban players and their experiences in the United States – check it out below. I particularly found the statements by Luis Tiant (around 4:12) concerning communication to be quite interesting.

 

Happy Friday!

~ baseballrebecca

 

 

The Best and Worst of Baseball in 2018


Cedric Mullins

Cedric Mullins, 2018, photo by Keith Allison via Wikipedia

As we say goodbye to 2018 and look forward to 2019, let’s recap the year in baseball. While 2018 was, overall, a miserable year – if you’re an Os fan or a Nats fan – there were a few highlights. In the minors, there was the Copa de la Diversión, the P-Nats made the playoffs, and Cedric Mullins made his Major League debut.

In other good news, in June, the Washington Nationals helped the Washington Capitals celebrate DC winning the Stanley Cup and  MLB participated in the New York City Pride March for the first time. In July, the Nation’s Capitol hosted the MLB All-Star festivities, during which Bryce Harper, proudly representing DC, won the Home Run Derby. On a personal note, I finally got to see the Arizona Fall League, the Negro Southern League Museum, the Mobile BayBears, Hank Aaron Stadium, and Jackie Robinson’s childhood home in Pasadena.

In weird baseball news, the Norfolk Tides experiences a game delay due to ducklings on the field, and the new minor league team in North Alabama announced their new name, the Trash Pandas.

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Jonathan Schoop, 2013, photo by Keith Allison via Wikipedia

Sadly, in 2018 we lost Willie McCovey, Oscar Gamble, Rusty Staub, presidential fan George H.W. Bush, and quite a few others. Derek Jeter had the nerve to want to move the home run sculpture outside of Marlins Park. And the Baltimore Orioles and Washington Nationals committed the unforgivable acts of trading Manny Machado, Jonathan Schoop, and Gio Gonzalez.

Of course, we can’t forget that 2018 was the worst Orioles season ever and that the Orioles likely won’t re-sign Adam Jones.

Hopefully, 2019 will be better…

Have a safe and happy New Year’s celebration!

~ baseballrebecca

 

Films on Fridays: O’s Try Oysters


Since many of us are still celebrating the holidays – and missing baseball – the video below seemed appropriate. The video appeared on the the television channel that broadcasts Orioles games, MASN. It’s holiday-related because, apparently, oysters are featured in many holiday traditions. According to a recent article in Forbes, oysters are a Thanksgiving tradition in the New England, and a Christmas Eve staple in the Southeastern United States. Traditionally, many Irish and German immigrants ate oyster stew on Christmas Eve because Catholics did not eat meat the night before the holiday. Oysters are used in other holiday meals, as well; according to the San Diego Union-Tribune, oysters are also a New Year’s tradition.

However, just because oysters appear in many holiday recipes and Trey Mancini was brave enough to try them, does not mean I plan on eating oysters any time soon. What about the rest of you? Do you include oysters in your holiday traditions?

~ baseballrebecca

 

 

 

George H.W. Bush and Baseball


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George H.W. Bush played baseball while at the Phillips Academy in Andover,
Massachusetts

Much has been said this past week about President George H.W. Bush and his love of baseball. Several organizations, including Little League Baseball, paid their respects with fitting tributes. Here is a run down of just a few of his baseball-related honors and accomplishments:

 

  • 1946-48 – Played baseball at Yale University.
  • 1984 – While Vice President, participated in an old-timers game with the Denver Bears at Mile High Stadium.
  • 1989 – Using his own glove, threw out the first pitch at the Orioles season opener on April 3.
  • 1989 – Threw out the first pitch in Anaheim on April 25.
  • 1989 – Little League Baseball renamed the “Little League Parents of the Year Award” the “George and Barbara Bush Little League Parents of the Year Award.”
  • 1989 – Celebrated Little League’s 50th anniversary with a reception on the South Lawn of the White House; later, later traveled with the Little League President to Warsaw, Poland, to deliver the first Little League charter to leagues that were established after the fall of the Soviet Union.
  • 1989 – Threw out the first pitch in Baltimore on June 28
  • 1989 – Attended baseball game in Baltimore on August 4.
  • 1990 – Threw out the first pitch at a Toronto Blue Jays game on April 10; became the first President to attend a baseball game in Canada.
  • 1990 – Threw out the first pitch in Baltimore on July 16.
  • 1991 – Threw out the first pitch at the Rangers game on April 8.
  • 1991 – Attended an Orioles game with Queen Elizabeth on May 15.
  • 1991 – Attended Frederick Keys game at Harry Grove Stadium in Frederick, MD, on June 8.
  • 1992 – Threw out the first pitch for the opening of Camden Yards on April 6.
  • 1991 – Awarded the “President’s Award” to Ted Williams and Joe DiMaggio and attended the 1991 All-Star Game with them.
  • 1995 – Attended Ted Williams’ spring event at the Hitters Hall of Fame.
  • 2000 – Threw out the Opening Day first pitch for the Texas Rangers.
  • 2005 – Met Red Sox Hall of Famer Bobby Doerr at his home in Kennebunkport.
  • 2007 – At the Little League International Congress, President and Mrs. Bush were honored as Little League’s “First Family.
  • 2015 – Threw out the first pitch of the American League Championship Series in Houston, TX.
  • 2014 – The National College Baseball Hall of Fame facility in Lubbock, TX, was named the George H.W. Bush National College Baseball Hall of Fame.
  • 2017 – Threw the first pitch before the 5th game of the World Series in Houston, TX.

 

~ baseballrebecca