Despaigne New Cuba Home Run King

By Peter C. Bjarkman*

HAVANA TIMES, April 3 — In the second inning on Tuesday night April 3 (2012) in Havana’s Latin American Stadium Granma’s Alfredo Despaigne cracked home run number 34 of the current National Series season.

It was the first of two loud Despaigne cannon shots on the night that highlighted a 21-10 romp over Havana Industriales before an enthusiastic crowd announced at slightly above 12,000 partisans. Despaigne’s two homers capped a season-long pursuit of a new league home run standard that the Granma slugger himself had surrendered only one season back.

The historic blast number 33 to topple the old record (set by José Dariel Abreu and Yoennis Céspedes in National Series #50) came off a delivery from Industriales southpaw Ian Rendón. Four innings later Despaigne punctuated his historic night by belting a second round tripper off reliever Roberto Santiesteban. On the night the Granma Stallion (known in Cuba as “El Caballo de los Caballos”) also added five RBI to his season’s total, leaving him now only 13 short of the league record of Alexei Bell (111) set in National Series #47 (2008). Yulieski Gourriel is the only other Cuban Leaguer to reach triple figures (with 105 in NS #49) in the RBI column.

Despaigne saved the island’s biggest stage (spacious and historic Latin American Stadium) for his record-setting performance and he also banged out the record breaker in spectacular fashion – a 400 foot line drive on which his bat broke off at the handle as he made contact with the Mizuno 200 baseball. Only a slugger of Despaigne’s extraordinary strength could club a ball that far on a swing that left him with only the bat handle remaining in his grasp.

With eleven games remaining in the season Despaigne now sits in a position to further extend the record he himself last held after the 2009-2010 season (when he belted 32 in the 90-game campaign). Despaigne lost that mark to Abreu and Céspedes last winter when he trailed the pair by a half dozen, despite missing the entire first month of the season while on a government-sponsored mission to the World Youth Congress. After being held to 27 long balls (in only 67 games) last season, Despaigne exploded in the post-season where he added six more for a final total of 33 on the year. In Cuban League play homers hit during the playoffs are added to career totals but do not count toward single-season records. Last night’s dramatic pair of blasts lifted Despaigne’s lifetime total to 199 (this is his eighth season) leaving him now on the doorstep of still another impressive career milestone.

Below is this season’s Despaigne Home Run Log now updated through last night’s action.

Alfredo Despaigne’s Home Run Inventory for National Series #51 (2011-2012)

Complied by Peter C. Bjarkman

HR Game Date Stadium Inning Pitcher (Throws) Team
#35 #85 April 3, 2012 Latinoamericano Sixth Roberto Santiesteban (RHP) Industriales
#34 #85 April 3, 2012 Latinoamericano Second Ian Rendón (LHP) Industriales
#33 #82 March 28, 2012 Martires de Barbados Sixth Miguel Lahera (RHP) Artemisa
#32 #81 March 28, 2012 Martires de Barbados First Miguel Lahera (RHP) Artemisa
#31 #74 March 18, 2012 Martires de Barbados Fifth Ciro Silvino Licea (RHP) Guantánamo
#30 #73 March 17, 2012 Martires de Barbados Second Dalier Hinojosa (RHP) Guantánamo
#29 #66 March 7, 2012 Cinco de Septiembre Fifth Jorge Hernández (RHP) Cienfuegos
#28 #63 March 4, 2012 Cinco de Septiembre Seventh Yuniel Leiva (LHP) Cienfuegos
#27 #59 February 27, 2012 Martires de Barbados Eighth Reinier Verano (RHP) Pinar del Río
#26* #58 February 26, 2012 Martires de Barbados Fourth Michel Martínez (RHP) Pinar del Río
#25* #58 February 26, 2012 Martires de Barbados First Yosvani Torres (RHP) Pinar del Río
#24 #57 February 25, 2012 Martires de Barbados Fifth Yaifredo Dominguez (RHP) Pinar del Río
#23 #56 February 23, 2012 Martires de Barbados First Joel Suárez (RHP) Matanzas
#22 #54 February 21, 2012 Martires de Barbados Seventh Yohan Hernández (RHP) Matanzas
#21 #48 February 10, 2012 Candido González First Yoan Fabre (RHP) Matanzas
#20 #46 February 7, 2012 Martires de Barbados Fifth Luis Suárez (RHP) Isla de la Juventud
#19* #45 February 5, 2012 Martires de Barbados Eighth Jorge Despaigne (RHP) Isla de la Juventud
#18* #45 February 5, 2012 Martires de Barbados First Wilber Pérez (LHP) Isla de la Juventud
#17 #42 February 1, 2012 José Antonio Huelga Sixth Jorge Pérez (RHP) Sancti Spíritus
#16 #41 January 30, 2012 Martires de Barbados Fifth Yusmel Aguilar (RHP) Holguín
#15 #40 January 29, 2012 Diez de Octubre First Juan Cruz (RHP) Holguín
#14 #39 January 28, 2012 Martires de Barbados First Raimar Navarro (RHP) Holguín
#13 #38 January 22, 2012 Martires de Barbados Second Darwin Beltrán (RHP) Industriales
#12* #35 January 18, 2012 Heroes de Mayabeque Sixth Lenier Rodríguez (RHP) Mayabeque
#11* #35 January 18, 2012 Heroes de Mayabeque Fifth Lenier Rodríguez (RHP) Mayabeque
#10 #33 January 16, 2012 Nelson Fernández Ninth Mario Batista (LHP) Mayabeque
#9* #32 January 14, 2012 Severino Méndez Ninth Jonder Martínez (RHP) Artemisa
#8* #32 January 14, 2012 Severino Méndez Fifth José Padrón (RHP) Artemisa
#7 #27 January 5, 2012 Nguyen Van Troi Second Yoennis Turcas (RHP) Guantánamo
#6 #13 December 16, 2011 Changa Mederos First Ebris Martínez (RHP) Metropolitanos
#5 #12 December 14, 2011 Capitan San Luis Sixth Isbel Hernández (RHP) Pinar del Río
#4 #11 December 13, 2011 Capitan San Luis Fourth Yosvani Torres (RHP) Pinar del Río
#3 #7 December 7, 2011 Victoria de Girón Tenth Yasmani Arias (RHP) Matanzas
#2 #6 December 5, 2011 Augusto César Sandino First Misael Siverio (LHP) Villa Clara
#1 #2 November 30, 2011 Martires de Barbados Ninth Yoandri Quiala (RHP) Camagüey

Cumulative Notes on Alfredo Despaigne:

Despaigne’s Home Run Ratio: 8.74 (Number of At-Bats per Homer Run)

Home Runs by Month: November (1), December (5), January (10), February (11), March (6), April (2)

Home Runs versus Pitching Orientation: against right-handers (29), against left-handers (6)

Multiple Home Runs versus Single Pitcher: 3 (versus Miguel Lahera [Artemisa], Lenier Rodríguez [Mayabeque] and Yosvani Torres [Pinar del Río])

Home Runs in Ballparks: Home (18), Road (17)

Home Roads in Specific Ballparks: Martires de Barbados (Granma) 17, Latinoamericano (Havana) 2, Capitan San Luis (Pinar del Río) 2, Severino Méndez (Bauta) 2, Heroes de Mayabeque (Güines) 2, Cinco de Septiembre (Cienfuegos) 2, Candido González (Camagüey) 1, José Antonio Huelga (Sancti Spíritus) 1, Augusto César Sandino (Villa Clara) 1, Changa Mederos (Habana) 1, Nguyen Van Troi (Guantánamo) 1, Nelson Fernández (San José de Las Lajas) 1, 10 de Octubre (Yara) 1, Victoria de Girón (Matanzas) 1

Home Runs versus Teams (13 teams): Pinar del Río 6, Artemisa 4, Industriales 3, Holguín 3, Mayabeque 3, Matanzas 3, Isla de la Juventud 3, Guantánamo 3, Camagüey 2, Cienfuegos 2, Sancti Spíritus 1, Metropolitanos 1, Villa Clara 1

Teams Not Permitting a Despaigne Home Run in NS #51 (3 teams): Santiago de Cuba, Las Tunas, Ciego de Avila

Home Runs by Innings: First (9), Second (4), Third (0), Fourth (2), Fifth (7), Sixth (5), Seventh (2), Eighth (2), Ninth (3), Tenth (1)

Longest Consecutive Game Home Run Streak: 5 games (January 22 – February 1, 2012 in Games #38 – #42)

Longest Consecutive Game Streak without Home Runs: 13 games (December 17, 2011 – January 5, 2012)

*Multiple Home Run Games: 6 (January 14 versus Artemisa, January 18 versus Mayabeque, February 5 versus Isla de la Juventud, February 26 versus Pinar del Río, March 28 versus Artemisa, April 3 versus Industriales)

(*) Courtesy of