Yoandry Urgellés 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 Yoandry Urgellés Through My Lens.

The 12th and to date final Industriales championship was won in 2010. That drought is frustrating for fans of the Lions and represents their biggest time in between titles. That gap is now ushering in a changing of the guard. That last Industriales title was spearheaded by many luminary players in the franchises history. Yoandri Urgellés was a member of that squad and just this week follows in Stayler Hernández foot steps in announcing his retirement.

Yoandry Urgelles with Industriales via Phil Selig

Urgellés walks away as a premiere contact hitter and his career .335 average is proof. Yoandry debuted at 17 years of age in the last season of the last century. Like many in his cohort he debuted and initially developed with the now defunct Metropolitanos. He would win the Rookie of the Year award in that 1999-2000 season. The 5’10 Outfielder would move to Industriales for good in 2004 and be a key piece of their 2005-2006 Championship squad. He hit a robust .362 with an outstanding .470 OBP and was productive in driving in 66 runs.

2007-2008 would represent the peak season for Yoandry Urgellés. He would put together a .374 with 17 HR and 74 RBI. He would continue to put up impressive batting averages but his power production would never reach these levels again. These high averages however never led the league, as he finished twice in batting twice. He would become a member of many Cuban National squads including winning silver at the 2008 Olympics.

Urgellés represents another link to a fading past. Cuban baseball is undergoing many changes and the last generation that held playing for Cuba and in the National Series as paramounts playing days are coming to an end. Many of these players but for circumstance may have been the Major League names we have all heard. The best part of baseball is debating over who was better and who would’ve starred in different scenarios. Would Yoandry Urgellés have been a Big Leaguer given the opportunity? Who is to say but there is no doubt his Cuban National Series resume is impressive and his legacy is one worth celebrating.

Phil Selig

I am Phil. I write things