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 Stayler Hernández of Industriales Through My Lens.
Stayler Hernández has indicated that the 60th Cuban National Series was his final. After 18 years playing at Cuba’s top level the OF and 1B from Havana is hanging up his spikes. Hernández walks away as a popular player. He spent significant time playing for both the now defunct Metropolitanos and Industriales. Not the biggest name or brightest star during his time. He leaves with a distinguished resume and should be lauded for his durability.
The left hander retires with exactly 100 career home runs. 19 of those home runs came during the 2018-2019 season. That total led the National Series and represented his peak season in Cuba’s top league. Stayler Hernández of Industriales finishes with a career batting line of .297/.396/.453 in 4190 at bats. He was a consistent contact bat frequently hitting above .300. Stayler added power as he matured and walked more than he struck out over his career.
The Quebec Capitales have been progressive in bringing Cubans to play professionally in Canada. Over the past decade Yuniesky Gurriel, Alexeis Bell, Yordan Manduley amongst others have played professionally in La Belle Provence. 2019 saw Stayler Hernández join their ranks in the Independent CanAm League. He hit a respectable .319 with 4 home runs in the cross border league. The talent level likely resides between double and triple A.
Hernández career arc resembles and intersects with longtime teammates Alexander Malleta and Frank Morejón. I recently interviewed another player that came up at the same time as the Havana trio. Roberto Ramirez split time between Industriales and the Metropolitanos as well and believes that that training ground was indespensable for players like himself and Hernández. Much of the young foundation of Industriales’ last championship squads are now considered legends. Malleta retired in 2018. Morejón is now a 35 year old catcher who is closer to the end than the beginning. Stayler Hernández was a top player for Cuba’s most important squad during perhaps it’s most important baseball decade.
Congrats to Stayler Hernández on a great career in the Cuban National Series. Best Wishes and much success in the next step, hopefully staying involved and helping to cultivate the next generation of Cuban Baseball Stars. My Camera has captured him in action many times over the years. I will miss the opportunity to keep documenting him in action as he has appeared in many of my favourite photos.