Sunday, August 12, 2012

Vamos: Let's Play Beisbol 8/12/12

Hey Guys!

I know I promised to blog about the team whose city hosted the '96 Olympics but, since this is a baseball history blog, I decided to put that blog on hold in tribute of when baseball used to be played in the Olympics. Baseball is currently not an Olympic sport (it was last played in 2008), but I wanted to tell you guys about a pitcher from Cuba who dominated the Olympics every time he was out on the mound for the Caribbean country.

Baseball was most recently played in the Olympics as an official (non-exhibition) event from 1992 - 2008. Cuba took the gold in three of the five events, in '92, '96, and '04. This probably would have never happened without Pedro Luis Lazo, a 6 foot 3 inch 250 pound 97 mph fastball-throwing Cuban pitcher nicknamed "King Kong".  Unlike Orlando Hernandez and Jose Contreras who decided to come to the USA and play MLB, Lazo stayed in Cuba for his whole career and helped the Cuban national team win two Olympic gold and two Olympic silver medals from 1996-2008. Lazo has the most medals won by any baseball player ever in Olympic baseball history. Lazo also was stunning in the Cuban baseball league. He had a record of 257-136. He is second in career strikeouts with 2,426. Also, in the 2005 Baseball Word Cup in the Netherlands, he went 2-0 with two saves and a minuscule 0.54 ERA to help Cuba win gold. He helped his team win the Baseball World Cup four times, one time in Havana, Cuba (they came in second twice). In March 2006, he pitched for Cuba in the World Baseball Classic, and pitched an impressive four-and-a-half inning save against the Dominican Republic in the semis. In all of his gold medal chances in his active career, he has won 14 out of 19. He is one of the most respected Cuban pitchers worldwide.  Muy bueno!!