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Pedro Luis Rodríguez

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Pedro Luis Rodríguez Núñez

Pedro Luis Rodríguez was a top Cuban catcher of the late 1980s and early 1990s. During his career, he led his leagues in average twice, hits twice, doubles four times and triples four times.

Rodríguez tied Antonio Pacheco for the Cuban Serie Nacional lead with six triples for La Habana in 1982-1983. He hit 20 doubles in 1984-1985 to tie Fernando Hernández for the lead. He led the circuit with five triples in 1986-1987. In the 1987 Series Selectivas, he hit 16 doubles, tying Pacheco, Miguel Valiente and Orestes Kindelán for the lead. He debuted for the Cuban national team in the 1987 Intercontinental Cup, hitting .222 for the Gold Medalists.

Pedro had his big year in 1987-1988, breaking Omar Linares' batting average record for a Serie Nacional by 20 points, hitting .446. He also led in runs (59), hits (87) and doubles (17) to win MVP honors. The batting average record stood for 16 years before Osmani Urrutia broke it. He was the second Pedro Rodríguez to be named MVP, doing so eight years after Pedro José Rodríguez, Sr. In the 1988 Baseball World Cup, he hit .455/.486/.970 with 10 runs, 11 RBI and four homers in ten games. He threw out 4 of 10 attempted base-stealers. He was named as the tourney's All-Star catcher. He was third in average behind Lourdes Gourriel and Pacheco and tied Ty Griffin, Gourriel and Greg Roth for 4th in homers, trailing Luis Casanova, Linares and Tino Martinez. He was 1 for 4 in Cuba's 4-3 Gold Medal game win over Team USA; the lone baserunner to try to steal, Tom Goodwin, was successful.

Rodríguez hit only .200 in the 1989 Intercontinental Cup but batted .407 in the 1990 Central American and Caribbean Games. In the 1990 Baseball World Cup, he hit .429/.425/.743 with 11 runs and 5 doubles in 10 games. No one dared to try to steal against him. He was again the All-Star catcher, beating out Roberto Bianchi most closely; Scott Hatteberg was another catcher in the event. Pedro hit .380 for the Agropecuarios in the 1991 Series Selectivas for his second batting title. He was on Cuba's roster for the 1991 Pan American Games but did not play, as José R. Delgado was starring at catcher.

Pedro Luis hit 19 doubles for the Agropecuarios in 1992 to lead the Serie Nacional. In 1992-1993, the 33-year-old catcher showed he still had some wheels, tying José Antonio Estrada for the most triples, 5. In 1993-1994, he led with 100 hits and tied for the most triples (6). His 13 doubles for the 1994 Habana club led the Series Selectivas. He was 105-75 as manager of La Habana in 1997-1998 and 1998-1999. After his playing career ended, he defected from Cuba.

In 14 seasons in Cuba, Pedro Luis hit .334/.380/.535 with 871 runs, 281 doubles, 193 homers and 802 RBI. Opposing base-stealers were 654 for 1,063 (61.5%). Through 2009, he was tied for 9th in Castro-era Cuba in average (even with Antonio Munoz, Alexei Ramirez and Yulieski Gourriel, tied for 5th among retired players). He was first in steals allowed and four behind Juan Manrique for most caught stealing. He was 12th with 95 passed balls.

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