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Jorge Luis Valdés

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Jorge Luis Valdés Berriel (Tati)

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Jorge Luis Valdés was a reliable hurler in the Cuban Leagues of the 1980s and 1990s. The scrawny left-hander set the all-time Cuban win record of 234 and won 26 straight games in major international competitions.

Valdés first rose to stardom in the 1982-1983 Serie Nacional, leading the league with 10 wins. In the 1983 Selective Series, he won 11 more, leading that circuit as well. He had already debuted with the Cuban national team, going 0-1 with a 2.25 ERA in the 1982 Central American and Caribbean Games. It would be his last loss in an international event.

Valdés was 3-0 despite a 13.51 ERA in the 1983 Pan American Games and he had a 7.60 ERA and no decisions in the 1983 Intercontinental Cup. On January 31, 1984, he no-hit Villa Clara. He had a 3-0, 2.21 record in the 1984 Amateur World Series, tying for the Cuban lead in wins as they claimed a Gold Medal. He tied Sheng-Hsiung Chuang, Reinaldo Costa, Celis Gonzalez, Julio Romero and Yasuhisa Kubo for third in the Series in wins, one behind Julio Moya and Hiroshi Nagatomi. In the 1985 Intercontinental Cup, he was 1-0 with a 2.00 ERA.

The southpaw led the 1985-1986 Serie Nacional in ERA (1.56), innings pitched (115 1/3) and complete games (11) for a career year. He lost Pitcher of the Year honors to Lázaro de la Torre. In the 1986 Central American and Caribbean Games, Jorge had a 5.40 ERA. During the 1986 Amateur World Series, Valdés was 1-0 with a 0.00 ERA for the champion Cubans.

Valdés was 2-0 with a 5.40 ERA in the 1987 Pan American Games. In the 1987 Intercontinental Cup, the slender portsider went 3-0 with a 1.29 ERA, tying Rheal Cormier, Rogelio García amd Rene Arocha for the most wins. Valdés was 1-0 with a 4.36 ERA in the 1988 Baseball World Cup. In the 1988-1989 Serie Nacional, Jorge led with 9 complete games and tied for the most wins (11).

Valdés was 1-0 with a 0.00 ERA in the 1989 Intercontinental Cup. In the 1990 Central American and Caribbean Games, Jorge went 3-0 without allowing an earned run. In the 1990 Baseball World Cup, his record was 2-0, 3.95. He led the 1990-1991 Serie Nacional with 9 wins then led the 1991 Selective Series with 9 complete games. He had his best international tournament in the 1991 Pan American Games, going 3-0 with a 0.73 ERA. He led in ERA and pitched the first no-hitter in Pan American Games history, shutting down Team Canada in 14-0, 12-strikeout, 7-inning win called due to the mercy rule.

In the 1991-1992 season, Valdés led the league for the last time, leading in complete games (10), wins (12) and winning percentage (1.000). It was a new record for best winning percentage and earned Valdés not just his only Most Valuable Pitcher award, but also MVP honors.

Valdés played for Cuba in the 1992 Olympics, helping them win Gold. He was 1-0 with a 5.14 ERA, second-worst on the staff to Orlando Hernández. He got the start and win against Puerto Rico, his only Olympic appearance.

In the 1993 Central American and Caribbean Games, Jorge had a 2.70 ERA. He was 1-0 in the 1993 Intercontinental Cup, striking out 15 and allowing 2 hits and 3 walks in 9 scoreless innings.

Valdés was 234-166 in Cuban League competition. Through 2003-2004, he ranked among the all-time leaders in seasons pitched (20, tied for third), games pitched (519, third), starts (414, 1st), complete games (229, 2nd to Braudilio Vinent), wins (1st), losses (5th), shutouts (46, 4th), innings pitched (3,134, 2nd to Vinent), hits allowed (2,980, second to Carlos Yanes), runs allowed (1,337, 4th), earned runs allowed (1,090, 4th), strikeouts (1,982, 4th), walks (1,024, 4th) and intentional walks (85, 3rd). His ERA was 3.13 in Cuban play.

After retiring in Cuba, Valdés pitched in Brazil and also coached for the Brazilian national team in the 2004 Pan American Junior Championship and 2006 Olympic qualifiers.

In March 2008, Pedro Luis Lazo broke Valdés' win record.

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