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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My Cedric Mullins Bobblehead!


img_2718Last week we celebrated National Bobblehead Day, and I finally picked up my Cedric Mullins bobblehead from the Bowie Baysox, along with my 2019 Baysox ticket pack.

Cedric Mullins is one of my all-time favorite Baysox players. He was promoted to Bowie in 2017 and proceeded to hit 13 home runs in 76 games. (In fact, I wrote about the importance of having Cedric in 2017.)

In 2018, he played in 49 games in Bowie, 60 games in triple A Norfolk, and 45 games in Baltimore. Cedric made his MLB debut on August 18, 2018. Adam Jones marked the event by ensuring Cedric was the first on the field at the beginning of the game.

I am proud to have Cedric join my bobblehead collection.

~ baseballrebecca

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Best of the Week: 1/6/2019 – 1/12/2019


Last week, baseball teams across the nation celebrated National Bobblehead Day. Below are a few ways they marked the occasion:

Lots of teams offered giveaways… I wish I’d seen this one from the Pulaski Yankees – for some reason, I love Estevan Florial:

Have a great week!

~ baseballrebecca

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

Check Out the Re-designed Baseball Sociologist Website!


img_2450In case you didn’t check it out yesterday, the website has been redesigned – although the layout is pretty much the same, the colors are more vibrant (and Orioles-themed) and there is more information on the menu line. Check it out and let me know what you think! And if you have any comments on the site or suggestions for baseball sociological issues you’d like me to investigate, drop me a line!

~ baseballrebecca

 

 

 

Estadio Latinoamericano


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Estadio Latinoamericano in Havana, Cuba

Three weeks ago, I fulfilled a lifelong dream of visiting Cuba. We took a cruise to Havana and, playing by the rules, took a guided “people-to-people” tour of the city. Sadly, this tour did not include baseball… at first.

The tour we took was on the “Art and Culture” of Cuba. Naturally, as the Baseball Sociologist, I consider baseball to be both art and culture, but our tour guide stated that we would not be seeing the stadium on that particular tour. However, as we drove around the city, I began to get hopeful. I saw what seemed to be stadium lights peeking out above the buildings. Then, all of a sudden, the big beautiful blue stadium arose out of the landscape as we turned into an intersection.

I’m sure my gasp of awe and excitement was audible. The tour guide must have noticed because he immediately looked out the window and proclaimed to the tourists on the bus that we were passing the stadium after all. He noted that it was the location of the game President Obama attended between the National team and the Tampa Bay Rays in 2016. He also mentioned the deal between MLB and the Cuban Baseball Federation that had been announced the day before. Our tour guide, who is employed by the Cuban government, stated he thought the agreement would be good for the players, giving them a safer – and legal – way to sign with major league teams.

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Terrible picture of the stadium through the tour bus windows.

Estadio Latinoamericano opened in October 1946. The first baseball game there was played on October 26. The Almendares baseball club beat Cienfuegos by a score of 9 to 1. The Industriales replaced Alemendares as the main team playing in Estadio Latinoamericano in 1961 when professional baseball was banned in Cuba.

I craned my neck to see as much as I could see of the stadium through the windows of the bus. We quickly passed right by it, with no opportunity to hop off the bus and look around. Unlike most U.S. stadiums, we drove right by it – there were no parking lots or other barriers between it and us, just the sidewalk. I found it interesting that it really did seem to appear out of nowhere – seemingly right in the midst of a neighborhood.

Unfortunately, that brief glimpse of the stadium is pretty much all we got to experience of baseball in Cuba during our inaugural trip to the island. But now that I’ve spent a few hours in Havana, I know I want to go back. I’m already saving up for our next trip, during which we will see more baseball!

~ baseballrebecca

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