Fermín Laffita

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Fermín Laffita Pelipiche (El Rey de la pradera central, El Satélite oriental, El galgo del jardín central)

Biographical Information[edit]

Outfielder Fermín Laffita was a Cuban baseball star. His son Lester Laffita also played in Cuba.

Laffita hit .333 in the 1967 Pan American Games and led the event with five steals to help Cuba win the Silver Medal. With the Mineros in 1967-1968, he led the Cuban Serie Nacional in triples (8), intentional walks (15) and hit-by-pitch (10, tied with Reinaldo Isasi). He helped Cuba to the Gold in the 1969 Amateur World Series, batting .442. He tied for the Series lead with 3 triples (even with Luis Mercado) and led outright with three dingers and 16 RBI. He lost Amateur World Series MVP honors to teammate Gaspar Pérez, a two-way threat. He had 44 RBI for the Mineros in 1969-1970 to lead the league.

In the 1970 Central American and Caribbean Games, he hit .375 for the Gold Medalists. He led with 11 RBI, tied Urbano Gonzalez for the most home runs (2) and tied Wilfredo Sánchez and Félix Isasi for the most steals (5). He then hit .359 in the 1970 Amateur World Series, another Gold Medal win for the Cubans. He fell to .302 in the 1972 Amateur World Series as Cuba got Gold. The 28-year-old flyhawk hit .333/.448/.458 with 7 runs and 7 RBI in 8 games in the 1974 Central American and Caribbean Games. He fielded .900 in CF, splitting time with Rigoberto Rosique.

During 1974-1975, Fermín hit .396 for the Cafetaleros to break Erwin Walters' 13-year-old record for the highest average in a season during the Castro era. Héctor Olivera Sr. would break the mark five years later. He batted .375 in the 1975 Pan American Games and .281 in the 1976 Amateur World Series, his last major tournament.

Overall, Laffita had hit .279/.358/.378 in 20 seasons in Cuba, playing primarily in a pitcher's era. He struck out only 326 times in 4,712 at-bats and fielded .968 with 120 assists. He had 157 steals but was caught stealing 90 times, hit 75 home runs, scored 625 runs and drove home 568 in 1,329 games. As of 2010, he did not rank among Cuba's top 10 in any career category.

Two days after accompanying the Cuban national team for their 1999 Cuban National Team-Baltimore Orioles Exhibition Series in Baltimore, MD, Laffita died back in his native Cuba.

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