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Omar Luis

From BR Bullpen

Omar Luis Martínez

  • Throws Right
  • Height 6' 0", Weight 183 lb.

Olympics-Reference page

Omar Luis was one of the greatest strikeout specialists in Cuba in the 1990s and won an Olympic Gold Medal. His brother Andrés Luis also was a star pitcher in Cuba.

Luis led the 1994-1995 Serie Nacional with 108 strikeouts for Camagüey. That earned the 23-year-old a spot on the Cuban national team for the 1995 Intercontinental Cup. He dominated the event, going 3-0 with a 0.86 ERA, including a 19-strikeout no-hitter versus the South Korean national team. He was 4th in the event in ERA (between three 0.00s), led in wins, tied for the most saves (1) and led in strikeouts, 10 ahead of runner-up Young-soo Kim with 35 in 21 innings. He allowed only 12 hits in 72 at-bats. He and Masanori Sugiura were named the All-Star pitchers and Omar took home the Cup's MVP award.

The right-hander again went 3-0 in a major event, the 1996 Olympics, albeit with a 5.71 ERA in the high-scoring tournament. He struck out 18 in 17 1/3 innings. He tied Seth Greisinger for the lead in wins and was third in strikeouts behind Pedro Luis Lazo and Jutaro Kimura. He picked up wins over the Dutch national team, Japanese national team and Team USA. In the Gold Medal game, Luis got the start against Japan. The 24-year-old was bombed for six runs in 4 2/3 innings before being relieved by Lazo with a 6-6 tie in progress; Cuba went on to take the Gold.

Luis suffered a major setback a year later when his left arm was crushed in an auto accident, causing him to miss over six months of action. He returned to go 13-5 with a 1.77 ERA in 1997-1998 with 147 strikeouts in 137 innings. He was .26 behind ERA leader José Ibar, who had one of the best seasons in Cuba in the 20th Century.

Omar was 2-0 with a 4.00 ERA in the 1998 Haarlem Baseball Week, tying for the win lead. In the 1998 Central American and Caribbean Games, he had a 2-0, 1.38 record. He tied Jose Contreras and Jose Avila for the most victories. It was his fourth straight international tournament in which he led or tied for the lead in wins. Luis ended his international career in the 1998 Baseball World Cup, going 1-0 with a save and a 1.08 ERA, fanning 11 in 8 1/3 innings.

Luis only pitched in Cuba during the 1990s, as injuries ended his career at age 28. In his decade of work, he was 51-43 with a 3.51 ERA. He struck out 806 in 772 innings and allowed a .221 average. Only one player in Cuban history (through 2004) had more strikeouts while averaging over one per inning - Maels Rodríguez.

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