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.
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.