Rogelio García

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Rogelio García Alonso (El Ciclón)

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Rogelio García is the all-time strikeout leader in Cuban baseball in the post-1959 era.

García led the 1974-1975 Serie Nacional with 36 walks as a teenager. In the 1976 Selective Series, he led with 97 strikeouts. The pudgy right-hander appeared for the Cuban national team in the 1976 Amateur World Series, going 0-1 with a 1.80 ERA, but Cuba still won Gold. In the 1976-1977 Serie Nacional, El Ciclón led all hurlers with 97 strikeouts. He won his third straight strikeout title in the 1977 Selective Series, with 122. Rogelio struck out 120 in the 1977-1978 Serie Nacional for his 4th strikeout crown in four seasons. He then dominated in the 1978 Selective Series, leading the league in ERA (2.21), strikeouts (111), innings (134 1/3), complete games (11) and wins (10) for a pitching Triple Crown.

Rogelio was 3-0 for Cuba in the 1978 Central American and Caribbean Games, albeit with a 4.50 ERA. He went 1-0 with a 0.00 ERA in the 1978 Amateur World Series. He led the 1978-1979 Serie Nacional in complete games (12), shutouts (4) and strikeouts (102). In the 1979 Pan American Games, the right-hander had no decisions and a 5.40 ERA; in the 1979 Intercontinental Cup, he was sharper, going 1-0 with a 0.90 ERA.

García paced the 1979-1980 Serie Nacional with 132 strikeouts for his 6th strikeout title. In the Selective Series, he led with 9 complete games. He failed to lead in strikeouts in the 1980-1981 Serie Nacional as Braudilio Vinent took the lead but García won MVP and Pitcher of the Year honors anyways; he led in wins (10), ERA (1.31), complete games (12) and shutouts (5). In the 1981 Intercontinental Cup, Rogelio got the start in the Gold Medal game against Ed Vosberg but was ineffective and yanked early; he got a no-decision in a rare Gold Medal Game loss for Cuba. His 114 K's led the Selective Series.

García whiffed 144 in the 1981-1982 Serie Nacional, a career high and his 8th time leading the league in that department. He was the losing hurler in the All-Star Game. In the Selective Series, he struck out 116 to pace the loop.

El Ciclón struck out 119 in the 1982-1983 Serie Nacional for his 10th strikeout crown. In the 1983 Intercontinental Cup, he was 3-1 with a 3.32 ERA. He had a 3-0, 0.00 record in the 1983 Pan American Games.

Rogelio failed to lead the league in anything in 1983-1984, the first time that he had done so in a decade. He was 0-1 with a 4.61 ERA in the 1984 Amateur World Series, taking one of two Cuban defeats as they won Gold.

García was on the mound in the final game of the 1985-1986 Serie Nacional playoffs and surrendered the losing home run to Agustín Marquetti. In the 1986 Amateur World Series, he was 1-0 with a 2.25 ERA. The veteran was 2-0 with a 4.80 ERA in the 1986 Central American and Caribbean Games.

The right-hander led the 1987 Selective Series with a 1.25 ERA. In one three-week period, the veteran fired two no-hitters to prove he could still play. He had his final two tournaments with the national team, going 1-0 with a 2.84 ERA in the 1987 Pan American Games and 3-0 with a 0.81 ERA in the 1987 Intercontinental Cup. In the latter event, he tied Jorge Luis Valdés, Rheal Cormier and Rene Arocha for the most victories.

García had a 2.21 ERA and 94 strikeouts in the 1987-1988 Serie Nacional for his 11th and last strikeout title and his fourth ERA crown. He won his second Most Valuable Pitcher award for his efforts.

Rogelio García retired from Cuban play after 16 seasons with a 202-100, 2.39 record. Through 2003-2004, he ranked among the all-time leaders in starts (326, tied for 7th with Lazaro de la Torre), complete games (third, behind Vinent and Valdés), wins (4th behind Valdés, Vinent and de la Torre), shutouts (2nd, 56, 7 behind Vinent), innings (2,609, 5th), strikeouts (2,499, 1st), walks (2nd, 1,077, trailing Faustino Corrales), intentional walks (tied for 6th, 77) and wild pitches (4th, 175). The hard-throwing right-hander was not among the top 10 in losses, hits allowed or runs allowed despite his longevity.

He is the father of Rogelio García Jr. He also coached for Cuba when they won the 2014 Central American and Caribbean Games.

Source: A History of Cuban Baseball by Peter Bjarkman