Emilio Cueche

From BR Bullpen

Emilio Cueche (Indio)

  • Bats Right, Throws Right
  • Height 5' 6", Weight 160 lb.

BR minors page

Biographical Information[edit]

Emilio Cueche spent seven seasons in AAA, but none with US-based teams. He pitched in Venezuela, Cuba and the Dominican Republic primarily.

Cueche debuted for Cerveceria Caracas in 1950-1951, going 5-2 with a 3.28 ERA and winning Venezuelan League Rookie of the Year honors. He turned in a 6-7, 3.76 record for the 1951-1952 Sabios de Vargas with more walks (62) than walks (59) in 117 1/3 IP. He tied for third in the league in losses, behind Hal Hudson and Red Lynn. He tossed 2 2/3 innings in the 1952 Caribbean Series, with two hits, two whiffs and a walk. In 1952-1953, the little right-hander fell to 3-5, 5.37 for Vargas. Playing regularly in the field, though, he hit .309/?/.407 with 10 doubles. He starred in the 1953 Caribbean Series, though, with a 1.13 ERA in two outings, leading a team that included Ramon Monzant, Ralph Beard, Thornton Kipper, Howie Fox and Tommy Byrne.

In 1953-1954, the Barcelona native fell to .237/?/.280 offensively but pitched much better (13-10, 3.63). He was clearly the workhorse of the Gavilanes staff and finished among the league's leaders in losses (tied for first with Jay Heard and Bubba Church), wins (3rd, one behind Monzant and Kipper), complete games (18, 1st by 4 over Monzant), innings (208, 1st), hits allowed (196, 1st), walks (89, 1st) and strikeouts (126, 2nd, 6 behind Monzant).

He made his minor league debut with the 1954 Havana Sugar Kings, going 13-12 with a 4.80 ERA and batting .307/.366/.360. With Havana and the Syracuse Chiefs tied for the 4th and final playoff spot at the end of the 1954 International League regular season, Cueche got the call for the one-game play-in; he was toasted for five first-inning runs in a loss to Syracuse. For the year, he tied Gary Blaylock, Art Ditmar, Walt Kellner and Duke Markell for 7th in the league in losses and was 10th in strikeouts (104; everyone else in the top 15 would appear in the majors at some point in their careers). Also, every IL player with a higher average that year (in 50+ AB) wound up in the majors.

In the 1954-1955 Venezuelan League, "Indio" was 9-8 with a 2.03 ERA for Santa Maria. He tied Ben Flowers for third in wins (behind Monzant and Don Bessent), was third in losses, led with 13 complete games and was third in ERA (after José Bracho and Monzant). In the 1955 Caribbean Series, he tied Bill Greason for the most complete games (2), going 1-1 with 11 hits allowed in 17 innings.

With the 1955 Sugar Kings, he was 12-10 with a 2.97 ERA and played the outfield occasionally, hitting .239/.283/.308. He was 5th in the 1955 IL in ERA (between Ken Lehman and Pete Wojey) and tied five others for 10th in wins (all of the other top 20 would play in the majors). In 1955-1956, he had a 7-6, 3.33 record for the Industriales de Valencia. He was 7th in the league in victories. In the 1956 Caribbean Series, he was hit hard, going 0-1 with 17 hits in 8 innings.

During 1956, he was 6-2 with a 2.68 ERA for Havana, working mostly out of the bullpen. That winter, he hit .308 for Valencia while going 12-5 with another 3.33 ERA. He led the league in wins, four more than Babe Birrer and Connie Grob, and was possibly as high as third in ERA. He was 0-1 in the 1957 Caribbean Series despite only 4 hits and two walks in 8 innings, while fanning six. In 1957, he went 10-11 with a 3.83 ERA for Havana and produced offensively at a .234/.271/.273 clip.

Cueche fell to 8-4, 3.86 for Valencia in 1957-1958 while batting .345/?/.445 with 17 runs and 19 RBI. He had a better average than teammates like Earl Battey, Lou Limmer or Lenny Green. He also was third in the league in wins, one behind co-leaders Monzant and Charlie Beamon. In the 1958 Caribbean Series, his sixth and final Caribbean Series, he struggled, going 0-1 with 21 hits allowed in 12 2/3 IP. He lost the opener, to Mike Fornieles and the Marianao Tigers, in a landslide.

The veteran remained productive for Havana in the summer of 1958. He went 14-13 with a 3.59 ERA and five shutouts, while hitting .234/.282/.318 with 22 RBI, pinch-hitting regularly (he got into 37 games as a pitcher, 78 total). He tied Blaylock, Bennie Daniels and Bill Harris for 9th in the 1958 International League in wins, he tied Rip Coleman, Joe Gibbon, Lynn Lovenguth and Dick Ricketts for fifth in losses and he tied for first in shutouts (even with Blaylock, Mike Cuellar, Bob Giallombardo and Tommy Lasorda).

In 1958-1959, Cueche was 7-5 with a 3.18 ERA for Valencia, hitting .295 and slugging .411. He tied Bracho for 7th in the league in wins. In 1959, he had a 9-8, 3.95 record for Havana. Repeating a frequent theme, the other 31 IL pitchers that year with as many or more wins would all be in the majors at some point. In 1959-1960, Emilio went 2-2 with a 5.62 ERA for the Industriales, fading at age 32. He struggled with Havana in 1960 (0-3, 4.50) and finished the year with the Mexico City Red Devils (3-4, 8.80). In 1960-1961, he rebounded to go 6-6 with a 3.21 ERA for the Leones del Caracas. He tied for 7th in the league in wins. In 1961-1962, he went 2-4 with a 3.14 ERA for Caracas. He ended his career with the 1962 Red Devils at 1-5, 4.63.

Cueche was 68-68 in his minor league career, 64-59 at the AAA level. He hit .239 at AAA. In the Venezuelan League, Emilio went 80-64 with a 3.42 ERA in 229 games. In 1,217 1/3 IP, he walked 406 and struck out 640. He had also hit .266 and slugged .340. Through 2011-2012, Cueche was among the all-time Venezuelan League leaders in wins (4th behind Bracho, Diego Segui and Luis Peñalver), losses (5th) and complete games (75, 2nd to Bracho). He was inducted into the Salón de la Fama in 2006, part of the third class, along with Bo Diaz, Monzant and Teo Acosta as players.