Lourdes Gourriel Sr.

From BR Bullpen

Lourdes Gourriel Delgado
(El Héroe de Parma, Hombre de los Grandes Momentos)

  • Bats Left
  • Height 6' 0", Weight 198 lb.

Biographical Information[edit]

Lourdes Gourriel was a long-time star in Cuba, winning two batting titles and retiring among the top 20 all-time in average, homers, doubles, hits, total bases and runs. He played for the Cuban national team for over 15 years, twice being MVP of international events and coming up with numerous starring performances, perhaps doing better in international competition than he had done in his amazing career in the Cuban leagues. He then became a successful manager. He also has become known for the feats of his sons, Yulieski Gourriel, Lourdes Gourriel Jr. and Yuniesky Gourriel. He is also the brother of Luis Enrique Gourriel, the nephew of José R. Delgado and the cousin of Yoannys Delgado.

Early stardom[edit]

Gourriel scores while catcher Jose Lorenzana tries for the out. Taken at the 1986 Harlem Baseball Week

Lourdes Gourriel first starred as a teenager. In the 1976-1977 Cuban Serie Nacional, he won the Rookie of the Year award for Azucareros. In 1978-1979, he hit 12 doubles to tie Armando Capiró and Jorge Beltrán for the Serie Nacional lead. He debuted with the Cuban national team that year, hitting .294 in the 1979 Intercontinental Cup.

Gourriel led the 1979-1980 Serie Nacional with 77 hits. In the 1980 Amateur World Series, he hit .452 to help Cuba to the gold medal and got the game-winning hit in one 5-4 affair versus Team USA.

He hit .297 in the 1981 Intercontinental Cup. In the 1982 Central American Games, he batted .217 but tied Pedro Jose Rodriguez Sr. for the lead with six RBI. He batted .429 with a leading 4 doubles in the 1983 Intercontinental Cup and joined Eric Fox and Victor Mesa on the All-Star outfield for the tourney. He hit .526 in the 1983 Pan American Games.

During the 1984 Amateur World Series, Gourriel hit .309/.356/.636, scored 12 runs and drove in 16 to tie Barry Bonds for the lead. He also led with 7 doubles. Overall, he outproduced Bonds, his counterpart in left field. In the 1985 Intercontinental Cup, he hit .414. He then batted .524 in the 1986 Central American and Caribbean Games.

In the 1986 Amateur World Series, the left fielder hit .357, slugged .500 and scored 12 runs. The next year, he hit .321 in the 1987 Pan-American Games and .327 in the 1987 Intercontinental Cup. In the 1988 Selective Series, he hit .430 to win the batting title.

Getting better with age[edit]

Gourriel dazzled in the 1988 Baseball World Cup. He hit .500/.579/1.000 to lead in slugging. He also hit two major home runs. In the last round-robin game, he came up with two on, one out and a 9-6 deficit in the 9th inning, then smashed a 3-run homer off of Joe Slusarski to tie it; Cuba would go on to beat Team USA. In the Gold Medal game, he hit a game-tying homer in the 9th against Jim Abbott to again ruin America's hopes. He made the tourney All-Star team, joining Luis Casanova and Daisuke Tsutsui in the outfield.

In the 1989 Intercontinental Cup, Lourdes again was in the All-Star outfield, having hit .435 and slugged .913. In the finale against Japan, he drove in four of Cuba's 8 runs. He was 5th in the tournament in average. He won the MVP award for the tourney. In the 1989-1990 National Series, he drew 8 intentional walks to tie Alejo O'Reilly for the lead in his region.

He batted .429 in the 1990 Central American and Caribbean Games. In the 1990 Baseball World Cup, Gourriel hit .463/.522/.902 for the Gold Medalists with 12 runs and 19 RBI in 10 games. He tied Antonio Pacheco for third in homers (4), trailing Orestes Kindelan and Omar Linares. He led with 25 hits and trailed only Kindelan in RBI. He made the All-Star team as the best first baseman in the competition. He played for Cuba in the 1990 Goodwill Games when they won Gold.

During the 1991 Pan-American Games, the 34-year-old veteran hit .,419 and tied Kindelan and Chris Roberts for the lead with four homers. He made the All-Star team as the top first baseman.

In the 1992 Olympics, Gourriel batted .400/.439/.692 with 9 runs and 10 RBI in nine games as the #5 hitter and first baseman for the Gold Medal Cubans, including a 3 for 5 effort against Taiwan in the finals. He easily outhit Team USA first baseman Jason Giambi.

In the 1993 Intercontinental Cup, Gourriel hit .390/.391/.683 as the DH for the champions. He tied Linares for 4th with 16 RBI and tied for fourth with three homers. He was the tournament's All-Star DH, giving him five All-Star nods in the past five major international tourneys he had played in (excluding the Olympics, which did not name an All-Star; he would have been a likely choice at first). In the 1993 Central American Games, he batted .444 and led with 12 hits.

The old-timer kept on hitting in 1993-1994, winning a National Series batting crown (.395) and also leading in doubles (19). He was named the Serie Nacional Most Valuable Player.

In the 1994 Baseball World Cup, the 37-year-old remained at the top of his game, winning the MVP honors after hitting .429/.488/.881 with 4 homers, 15 runs and 18 RBI in 10 games. He led the Cup in RBI, tied for the lead in triples (2), tied for third in hits and tied for fifth in home runs. He was chosen as the All-Star DH for his sixth All-Star selection in his last six major world tournaments that picked an All-Star team.

In the 1994-1995 Serie Nacional, Gourriel led with 18 intentional walks. He spent his final summer with the national team, hitting .464 to lead the 1995 Pan-American Games and went 0 for 1 in the 1995 Intercontinental Cup.

Career Stats[edit]

Overall, Gourriel had hit .323/~.414/.506 in the Cuban leagues. Through the 2003-2004 season, he ranked 6th all-time in intentional walks (155), 6th in times grounding into a double play (190), 7th in batting average, 9th in total bases (3,171), 10th in doubles (326), 11th in hits (2,036), 12th in runs (1,122) and 16th in home runs (247). In addition, he had performed even better in international tourneys, with 2 MVP awards and at least six All-Star appearances.


After retiring as a player, Gourriel became a manager. He guided Centrales to a 2003 Super League title. He also managed Sancti Spiritus, for which his sons played. He coached for Cuba in the 2005 Baseball World Cup and 2009 World Baseball Classic.

Gourriel led Sancti Spíritus for 7 seasons (2000-2001 to 2006-2007) then spent two years managing in Nicaragua. He returned to his old Cuban squad in 09-10 and managed them to a 63-27 record, the league's best, before they fell in the playoffs 4 games to 1 to the Industriales, major underdogs. After a 49-41 record in 2010-2011, he was replaced by Ruperto Zamora.

Sources: Defunct IBAF website, various Baseball Almanacs, A History of Cuban Baseball, 1864-2006 by Peter Bjarkman, 2005 Guia Official de Beisbol

Further Reading[edit]

  • Nathalie Alonso: "Gurriels are first family of Cuban baseball: Yuli, Lourdes Jr. living out father Lourdes Sr.'s MLB dream", mlb.com, January 5, 2019. [1]

Related Sites[edit]