Alejo O'Reilly

From BR Bullpen

Alejo O’Reilly Morejón

Biographical Information[edit]

Alejo O'Reilly was a productive Cuban slugger of the 1980s and played well in a handful of international tournaments. He was the first baseman on an infield with Antonio Pacheco, German Mesa and Omar Linares before that role was taken over by Orestes Kindelan. The new quartet would become the most famous Cuban infield of the 20th Century. Despite his impressive career, O'Reilly is rarely mentioned alongside his more famous Cuban national team stars. For instance, he is not noted once in the table of contents for A History of Cuban Baseball.

O'Reilly first made headlines in 1978-1979 when he won Rookie of the Year honors. He was even better in the 1980-1981 Serie Nacional when the Villa Clara star led the loop with 69 RBI. In 1982-1983, he led the Serie Nacional in doubles (15), RBI (38, tied with Lázaro Junco) and walks (34, tied with Luis G. Casanova).

Alejo hit 12 homers in the 1984 Selective Series to tie Kindelan for the lead. His 37 walks tied for the most in the 1985-1986 Serie Nacional. O'Reilly made his national team debut in the 1987 Pan American Games, going 6 for 10 as Cuba's top performer (in a back-up role). In the 1987 Intercontinental Cup, he was amazing, hitting .553 (21 for 38). In the preliminary round, he led the tourney in average (.588), had an OBP around .659 and slugged 1.471. He hit 9 homers and drove in 20 in 34 AB in the preliminary round. He was two homers behind the leader, Linares, and 6 RBI behind Linares, but well ahead of non-Cuban players such as Robin Ventura, John Valentin or Matt Stairs.

In the 1988 Baseball World Cup, O'Reilly batted .268/.318/.488 with 9 runs and 6 RBI in 11 games as Cuba's starting first baseman and one of their lighter threats. He saved his best for last, though. With two outs in the 9th, and the game tied, the #8 hitter swatted a pitch from Joe Slusarski into the seats for the game-winning home run. He hit .333 when Cuba won the 1989 Intercontinental Cup.

O'Reilly tied Lourdes Gourriel Sr. for the eastern league lead in intentional walks (8) in the 1989-1990 Serie Nacional.

Overall in the Cuban leagues, O'Reilly batted .303/.401/.509 with 240 homers and 910 RBI in 4,683 AB. Through 2004, he was 17th in home runs, 7 behind Gourriel.

After retiring, Alejo became a coach with Ciego de Ávila.