Julio Ernesto Zuleta Tapia
- Bats Right, Throws Right
- Height 6' 5", Weight 235 lb.
- Debut April 6, 2000
- Final Game June 25, 2001
- Born March 28, 1975 in Ciudad de Panamá, Panamá, Panama
Julio Zuleta was signed by the Chicago Cubs as an amateur free agent in 1992. Zuleta spent 7+ years in the minor leagues before being called up to the Cubs in 2000, where he batted .294/.342/.544 with 3 HR's and 12 RBI. Zuleta made the Cubs roster in 2001, but quickly struggled and was optioned to the AAA Iowa Cubs. Zuleta spent all of his 2002 season with Iowa batting .293/.362/.550 with 31 HR's and 104 RBI. In 2003, Zuleta joined the Boston Red Sox, and had a big spring training, but was optioned off to the AAA Pawtucket Red Sox, where he batted .275/.336/.505 with 12 HR's and 49 RBI.
Zuleta left to play in Japan in late 2003, joining the Daiei Hawks. In his first year with Daiei, Zuleta batted .266/.364/.514 with 13 HR's and 43 RBI. In, 2004, Zuleta improved to .284/.389/.567 with 37 HR's and 100 RBI. During, the 2005 season, Zuleta had a career year batting .319/.392/.664 with 43 HR's and 99 RBI. On April 15 Julio charged the mound after Satoru Kanemura hit him with a pitch. It was the 19th time Kanemura's club had hit him with a pitch. For his actions, Zuleta was suspended for 10 games by the Pacific League and fined 300,000 yen. Additionally the Hawks fined him 1 million yen and required community service.
Zuleta went on to leave the Hawks due to a breakdown of salary talks and was released on December 18 which led to him signing a two-year $5.2M contract with the Chiba Lotte Marines on December 29. He will continue to wear his familiar 42 number with Chiba Lotte.
Zuleta was Panama's first baseman in the 2009 World Baseball Classic but performed poorly, going 0 for 8 with 3 strikeouts and an error.