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A gentleman on the diamond and a great hitter So is this Cuban who writes history in the Major Leagues

Without bragging, with leadership, with offensive consistency and with the simplicity that elevates the greatness of the human being, José Abreu is writing history in the Major League ball to place himself in the select group of the best Cuban hitters of all time together with Rafael Palmeiro, Tony Oliva, José Canseco, Tony Pérez and Orestes Miñoso.

Yes, let no one doubt it, because the difference between Abreu and these Cuban hitters who excelled in the Major Leagues is that those who today are historical started very young in this baseball (except Miñoso) and had long careers (except Oliva), with two of them acting in a time when steroids were used to aid offensive performance.

Last Sunday, August 23, Abreu placed his name next to four other players when on the count of two balls and a strike he brought the ball 449 feet from the plate at Wrigley Field in Chicago before a shipment from the Japanese Yu Darvish to add his sixth home run in a three-game series and becoming the fifth player to do so to equal Barry Bonds (2001), Alex Rodriguez (2002), Shawn Green (2002) and Hee-Seop Choi (2005).

Of these six home runs in nine at-bats, four of them were consecutive for the 43rd time that feat has been accomplished.

Abreu, who last year finished leading in RBIs with 123 and added 33 home runs, in 2020 leads the American League in both lines with 28 and 11 respectively, as well as total bases accumulated with 79, maintains an average of .322, on-base. of .365, slugging of .669 and OPS of 1.035 on base plus slugging).

Since his debut in the Major Leagues, this diamond gentleman born in the city of Cienfuegos has been delivering hits of all dimensions and has always remained in the group of the best hitters.

Their numbers prove it. In four of his six full seasons he has surpassed 30 homers, in five the 100 RBIs and in four averaging above .290 with two surpassing the .300 mark. He won the Best Rookie award in 2014, with two Silver Bat trophies and three All-Star Games.

Through Monday’s games, Abreu has accumulated a total of 190 home runs, 639 RBIs, on-basement of .349, slugging of .518, an OPS of .868 and average of .294 with 1,076 hits; with an average of home runs per times to bat of one per 19 and one RBI per 5.7 at-bats.

If the Cienfuegos player had started in the Major Leagues at 22 and not at 27 as he did, at this time when he is 33 he would be very close to or above 300 homers and 1,000 RBIs.

Although the late arrival of these talented players is unfortunate, we can say that at least this new generation of Cubans has been able to perform in the Major Leagues, because for no one it is a secret that for six decades the so-called National Series have passed hundreds of players who would have shone in the best tournament in the world.

Among the most outstanding hitters we remember Omar Linares, Luis Giraldo Casanova, Armando Capiró, Antonio Muñoz, Pedro José Rodríguez, Orestes Kindelán, Lázaro Junco, Frederich Cepeda, Fernando Sánchez, Miguel Cuevas and Antonio Pacheco. In the pitching luminaries such as Braudilio Vinent, Jorge Luis Valdés, Manuel Alarcón, Pedro Luis Lazo, Rogelio García, Lázaro Valle, José Antonio Huelga, Santiago Mederos, Juan Pérez Pérez and Omar Carrero, just to mention a small group of figures who lost. the opportunity to play in the Major Leagues.

When Cuba, the once second largest baseball power in the world, absurdly abolished the Cuban Professional League in 1961, halting the export of its players to the United States ball, this authoritarian measure became the legitimate reason why so many star players saw His dreams of playing in the Major Leagues broken and some others like Orlando “El Duque ” Hernández and José Ariel Contreras with credentials to add superior statistics, could not reach them due to having short careers.

In Abreu’s case, we must say it very clearly: the combination of power, average and timely hitting with men on bases that he has exhibited in six seasons and 29 more games in the Major Leagues, makes him one of the most consistent Cuban hitters at any stage. of history.

No one can predict exactly what will happen in the remainder of this short season, but one thing is certain: The tough Chicago White Sox slugger has all the attributes to further overwhelm his offense in seeking to help his team advance into the postseason phase for a chance to win the coveted AL Most Valuable Player trophy.

The task will not be easy, but it is not impossible either. Hopefully I can. José Abreu deserves it.