Fernando Sánchez

From BR Bullpen

Fernando Sánchez González (El Increíble)

  • Bats Right
  • Height 6' 0", Weight 159 lb.

Fernando Sánchez was a member of the Cuban national team for over a decade, retired as Cuba's all-time hit leader and was a MVP. His brother Wilfredo Sánchez won five batting titles and three MVPs; other brothers included Felipe Sánchez, Arturo Sánchez and former Cuban Rookie of the Year Armando Sánchez.

Fernando debuted in 1971-1972 with the Henequeneros. In 1974-1975, he led the league with six home runs. In the 1975 Series Selectivas, he led with 42 RBI for Matanzas and tied Eusebio Cruz for the most hits (66). He debuted with the national team in the 1975 Pan American Games, going 2 for 6 for the Gold Medalists.

When the Cuban leagues switched to aluminum bats in 1977-1978, Fernando led with a .394 average, having now led in every Triple Crown category. He was named Serie Nacional Most Valuable Player, the first Henequeneros player so honored since his brother Wilfredo in 1969-1970. He hit .447 in the 1978 Central American and Caribbean Games (won by Cuba) and .432/.475/.784 in the 1978 Amateur World Series (also won by Cuba), which he led with five doubles and tied Roberto Espino for the most hits (16).

Sánchez hit .345 in the 1979 Intercontinental Cup and .400 in the 1979 Pan American Games, taking home two more Golds; he led the latter event with 11 runs scored. The Jovellanos native hit .447 in the 1980 Amateur World Series and banged out 21 hits, the most, as Cuba won the title. He hit .344 in the 1981 Intercontinental Cup and settled for a Silver Medal for the first time in his international career as Team USA won the event. He again got a Silver in the 1982 Central American and Caribbean Games (won by the [[Dominican Republic national team), even though he hit .357.

El Increíble batted .385 for Cuba when they won the 1983 Intercontinental Cup. In the 1985 Series Selectivas, he had his first league-leading performance in seven years, pacing the circuit in RBI (36), doubles (12) and hits (60, tied with Antonio Pacheco). He made his national team swan song at age 34, going 1 for 10 in the 1985 Intercontinental Cup. His 15 doubles in 1989-1990 led the western division of the Serie Nacional.

Fernando retired at the end of 1992 with a record 1,994 games, 8,269 plate appearances and hits (2,215). As of 2010, he was among the all-time leaders in seasons played (23, tied for 5th), plate appearances (4th), at-bats (7,204, 4th), hits (second to Pacheco), doubles (338, 8th between Antonio Scull and Orestes Kindelan), triples (65, 8th, between Juan Padilla and Eduardo Paret), home runs (280, 12th), total bases (3,523, 5th behind Kindelan, Omar Linares, Pacheco and Antonio Muñoz), RBI (1,223, 4th behind Kindelan, Muñoz and Pacheco), intentional walks (144, 7th) and strikeouts (885, 11th). In most categories, he ranked ahead of Wilfredo, who was often rated the better hitter by Cuban fans. He hit .307/.389/.489, a better OPS than Wilfredo as well, though Fernando spent more of his career in the aluminum-bat era.