MIAMI, United States. — This June 9 marks the 39th birthday of the Cuban star baseball player Yulieski Gurriel Castilloone of the best baseball players the island has produced in recent decades.
A native of Sancti Spíritus and son of the illustrious Lourdes Gurriel, Yulieski grew up playing baseball and went through all categories until he joined the Cuba team, of which he was its star player for several years.
Since his arrival in the National Series in 2002, Gurriel has always been in the spotlight. His batting and fielding skills made him one of the best baseball players in Cuba from a very young age, to the point of being compared to the legendary Omar Linares.
He was the great figure of Cuba in the First World Baseball Classic, in which the selection of the largest of the Antilles finished in second place.
Yuli Gurriel was Olympic champion in Athens 2004 and runner-up in Beijing 2008, an event in which he ended up giving up the last two outs in Cuba’s three-run defeat to South Korea. It was, without a doubt, the worst moment of his career.
In Cuba, Yulieski never managed to be a national champion, not even when he played for Industriales between 2013 and 2015. However, the future would have something much better prepared for him.
In February 2016, Yulieski and his brother, Lourdes Jr., left the Island’s delegation during the Caribbean Series in the Dominican Republic. That same year, Gurriel achieved his dream of playing in the Major Leagues after signing with the Houston Astros for four seasons.
Yuli Gurriel arrived at the Majors at the age of 32 and ended up becoming one of the leaders of the franchise. In seven seasons, he won two World Series (2017 and 2022), was the American League batting leader (2021) and Gold Glove (2021) at first base, a position he never played during his stay in Cuba.
Gurriel currently plays for the miami marlinsteam where he started as a change player until he established himself as a regular in the lineup.