Alexander Malleta Through My Lens

Before I began capturing video and writing about Cuban baseball, my photos connected me with the Cuban baseball community. Some of my early photos were the first to circulate as the internet was in it’s naissance. I have had the good fortune to return many times and capture the Cuban National Team in Canada as well. Join me in a new series where I share some of my favourite photos and tell the Stories of some of Cuba’s best players. Today let’s look at Alexander Malleta Through My Lens.

Industriales vs Camagüey

Alexander Malleta is one of the most respected Cuban ball players of this century. Although few will put him on the level of bigger name or MLB sluggers. He still had one of the best Cuban National Series career in the 2000’s. The first baseman for Industriales was the face of the capital for many years and shone brightest in the playoffs. He was named the playoff MVP in both 2006 & 2010. Malleta led Havana to championships in both seasons. 2010 represents the teams 12th and to date last Cuban National Series Championship.

Alexander Malleta 1B Industriales

I first ventured to Havana in 2015 and thanks to my local contact Ramon got some up close access in LatinoAmericano stadium. I was introduced to a number of the players including Alexander Malleta. Malleta debuted in the Cuban National Series at 18 years of age and had moderate success early on. He would spend time with both Industriales and the now defunct Metropolitanos. His breakout season would come when he was 26 with the Metropolitanos when he hit .288 with 17 Home runs and move to Industriales for good.

Industriales of Havana

Malleta wasn’t the statistical titan that some of his contemporaries were. Alfredo Despaigne or José Abreu put up loftier numbers. But his 27 home runs in 2010-2011 were an Industriales team record for many years. Lisban Correa broke the record by hitting 28 home runs in 2020. Malleta as mentioned had his best performances in the playoffs. For this reason, I make the argument that he is the Derek Jeter of the Cuban National Series. Overshadowed statistically but a consistent leader and winner in the largest media market who stepped up most when it mattered most.

The Veteran Malleta was given the chance to play professionally in Canada in 2016. Malleta and Pinar’s Donal Duarte would join the Ottawa Champions. Again Alexander’s number weren’t eye popping but he did help Ottawa live up to it’s name as they would win the 2016 CanAm Cup. Alexander Malleta playing in Canada bookended my personal story. It was the motivation for my short film that was screened at the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y. in 2017.

Malleta retired after the 2018-2019 season and quickly transitioned to the Industriales coach staff. He is the hitting coach for Havana and works with youth on developing their baseball skills as well. Alexander Malleta finished as a career .293/.408/.479 hitter in 22 seasons. His patience at the plate is best exemplified by his 1025 walks compared to just 657 strike outs. His 221 Home Runs and 1064 RBI’s also put him past key luminary statistical thresholds.

Alexander Malleta retires as one of the more revered and popular players of the past 20 years. Many consider him to be the Pride of the Lions. Malleta was the longtime leader of The Industriales of Havana Leones. You can debate where he fits in the pantheon of great players but hopefully you don’t Forgetta Bout Malleta.

Industriales of Havana

Phil Selig

Canada’s Top Expert on Cuban Baseball. I first ventured to the island in 2012 with camera in hand and captured some of the future baseball stars of the world. I have returned many times immersing myself in the game and culture. Get inside the Dugout for a unique look at Cuban Baseball.