Lázaro Pérez Agramonte
Lázaro Pérez Agramonte
- Born December 17, 1936 in Caibarién, Villa Clara Cuba
- Died April 7, 2005 in Santa Clara, Villa Clara Cuba
He joined the Cuban Navy after the Revolution. He was part of the Occidentales in 1962, the first season of the Cuban Serie Nacional. He debuted for the national team in the 1963 Pan American Games, hitting .211 for the Gold Medalists while splitting catching with Ramón Hechavarría. He moved to the Industriales in 1963 and won three straight titles with them. In the 1967 Pan American Games, when Cuba fell to a Silver, he was just 2 for 19 while splitting backstop duties with Ricardo Lazo. In 1968-1969, he took a pennant with the Azucareros.
He broke his finger while preparing for the 1969 Amateur World Series but told teammate Silvio Montejo and asked him not to share the news as he was worried he would be cut from the team. He wound up hitting .480, 2nd in the event, .020 behind teammate Owen Blandino, as Cuba won Gold. They also took Gold in the 1970 Amateur World Series when he hit .222, splitting time with Hechavarría again. He hit .167 when Cuba won the 1970 Central American and Caribbean Games. With Las Villas, his team won the Serie 10 Millones in 1970. In 1970-1971, the Azucareros won again, though his 54 strikeouts led the circuit.
Pérez hit .407 in the 1971 Amateur World Series, again second in a world event (.022 behind teammate Rodolfo Puente) and he was named the All-Star catcher while Cuba got the Gold. A light hitter back in Cuba, he had his third big global tournament in three years when he hit .438 in the 1971 Pan American Games, won by Cuba. Only Rigoberto Rosique had a better average among Cuba's regulars. In 1971-1972, he took another title with the Azucareros.
The Caibarién native hit .412 when Cuba won the 1972 Amateur World Series; only Evelio Hernández and Wilfredo Sánchez had better averages on the team. In the 1973 FIBA Amateur World Series (Cuba took the Gold), he remained strong at .321. He was 6 for 14 in the 1974 Central American and Caribbean Games, backing up Hernández for the Gold Medal winners. He was only 1 for 4 in the same role in the 1975 Pan American Games, with yet another Gold.
His 11th and final Gold Medal came in the 1976 Amateur World Series, when he was back in a starting role and hitting .387. His six world championship appearances are the most by any player from Villa Clara Province. He won one last title in the 1978 Series Selectivas with Las Villas. His final season was 1978-1979.
For all his offense on the international stage, he had hit .213/.316/.311 with 325 RBI in 893 games. He fielded .985 and caught 43.7% of would-be base-stealers. He managed Villa Clara in 1981-1982, going 24-27 in between managerial stints of Eduardo Martín.