The Flight of Pitchers Leaves Cuban Baseball with a Broken Wing

Cuban Norge Luis Vera is the only pitcher with more than 30 postseason victories. (Cubadebate)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Havana, 16 December 2022 — The Cuban Norge Luis Vera, considered one of the best National Series pitchers of all time, arrived in the United States this Friday. The gold medalist at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens reunited with his son, Norge Carlos, who currently has possibilities with the Chicago White Sox, journalist Francys Romero revealed on his social networks.

He referred to Vera as “the ace that Santiago of Cuba needed in the times of Antonio Pacheco, Orestes Kindelán and Gabriel Pierre,” for his performance in international events and “classifying among the best in history in victories and effectiveness.”

With Vera’s departure, the Island loses an experienced athlete who also won the silver medal at the Sydney 2000 and Beijing 2008 Olympics, in addition to winning the national championship six times with Santiago de Cuba and being the only pitcher with more than 30 postseason victories. Most importantly, Cuba loses an athlete who was on the way to transmitting his knowledge to new generations.

Vera leaves a difficult void to fill in Cuban baseball, which continues to grow, with the escape of pitchers, so many punches that the panorama paints a resounding defeat. The native of Siboney was ahead of Yoen Socarrás, the 35-year-old from Sancti Spíritus, who was part of the first Elite League.

Francys Romero told Baseball FR! That just before leaving Socarrás Island he had “asked to leave the sports system,” so he did not rule out that he “will try to settle in the United States and then continue his career on independent circuits or in Mexico. He won’t be short of finding work.”

Sonora was also the departure place of Granma’s former pitcher and pitching coach Ciro Silvino Licea. In mid-September, the baseball player took a flight at Havana’s José Martí International Airport to Nicaragua, from where he embarked on the journey to the United States.

His departure took the Agricultores team by surprise, because he was considered part of the squad of coaches who would intervene in the first Elite League. Licea is a reference among the pitchers in the 23 National Series with 208 games won with 3067.1 innings, where he added 1,887 strikeouts, with an average of 3.69 clean runs, in addition to possessing “a slider difficult to hit and a fast ball over 90 miles an hour with a repertoire that has improved over the years,” as posted on Facebook Sports by Modesto Agüero.

Days earlier, Yanier Fernández Piedra, the former Mayabeque pitching coach, arrived in the United States. “It was a difficult decision to leave Cuba, my family was there, the economic situation was very tough,” he told Periódico Cubano.

Fernández has completed studies in Physical Culture and Sports from the Agricultural University of Havana Fructuoso Rodríguez Pérez, so his foray as a coach of youth teams may be an option.

Translated by Regina Anavy


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