Eduardo Paret Pérez
- Bats Right, Throws Right
- Height 5' 8", Weight 152 lb.
Eduardo Paret has played almost two decades in Cuba and ranks among the all-time stolen base leaders on the island. He has been noted more, though, for his defensive work and his performance for the Cuban national team.
Paret appeared in the 1990 World Junior Championship. He debuted in the 1991-1992 Serie Nacional for Villa Clara. A year later, he topped the Serie Nacional with 16 sacrifice hits. He debuted for the Cuban national team in the 1993 Central American and Caribbean Games, going 0 for 1. In 1993-1994 Serie Nacional, he led the league with 59 runs and followed by leading the 1994 Selective Series with 16 stolen bases. In the 1994 Baseball World Cup, Eduardo was 0 for 1 with a run, backing up German Mesa at shortstop.
In the 1995 Pan American Games, the little shortstop was 1 for 6. In the 1995 Intercontinental Cup, he was 0 for 1 as Mesa's backup. When Mesa was suspended before the 1996 Olympics, Paret stepped up and hit .375/.474/.594 with 9 runs in 9 games. He made no errors in the field and impressed with several fine defensive plays. He was 3 for 4 in the semifinals and cracked a home run in the Gold Medal game.
In the 1996-1997 Serie Nacional, Paret stole 43 bases to lead the league, then swiped another 13 in the playoffs to lead the way. He was 5 for 18 with two walks in the 1997 World Port Tournament. Paret was sidelined from national team play after that for three years due to reported telephone contacts with Rolando Arrojo, a defector.
Paret still played in Cuba and led the 1998-1999 Serie Nacional with 46 stolen bases. Two years later, he had a possible career year by hitting .319 with 31 steals (third in the league), 16 home runs and 8 triples, two shy of the lead. He scored 99 runs in 90 games to set a new Cuban Serie Nacional run record, though it would be broken two years later by Enrique Díaz.
Allowed back with the national team for the 2001 Baseball World Cup, Paret was 3 for 13 with 3 walks while splitting action fairly evenly with Mesa. He stole 34 bases to lead the 2001-2002 Serie Nacional. He scored 74 runs, second to Michel Abreu. In the 2002 Intercontinental Cup, Eduardo hit .323/.488/.613 with 13 runs in 9 games to help Cuba win Gold. He tied Daniel Matsumoto and Guillermo Reyes for the most stolen bases (3) though he was caught twice. Igor Schiavetti was honored as the All-Star SS instead.
In the 2003 Pan American Games, Paret was 3 for 10 and he hit .500 in the COPABE Olympic Qualifiers. In the 2003 Baseball World Cup, he batted .333/.487/.567 with 11 runs in 9 games, 7 steals in 7 tries and 39 errorless chances. He was named the tournament's Best Defensive Player and beat out Jorge Cantú as the All-Star shortstop as Cuba won Gold.
Paret starred in the 2004 Super Liga, leading in home runs (5). In the 2004 Olympics, he hit .294/.385/.382 but was caught stealing in all four attempts he made. He handled 35 chances flawlessly. In the Gold Medal game, he was 2 for 5 with a double and two RBI in Cuba's 6-2 win over Australia. His 2-run double off of Ryan Rowland-Smith in the 6th scored Ariel Pestano and Eriel Sanchez and put Cuba ahead 6-1.
In the 2004-2005 Serie Nacional, Paret led the league with 25 times hit by pitch. In the 2005 Baseball World Cup, he hit an amazing .632/.714/1.105 with 12 runs and 8 steals in 8 tries in six games before a calf strain derailed Cuba's captain before the final round. He still led the tournament in stolen bases, was named the All-Star shortstop and MVP.
From 1981-2005, Paret stole the most bases of any player in the Baseball World Cups with 15.
Paret hit .229/.289/.371 in the 2006 World Baseball Classic but did shine in the finale, going 2 for 5 with a first-inning home run off of Daisuke Matsuzaka in Cuba's loss. In the 2006 Intercontinental Cup, Paret hit .270/.357/.270 with 8 runs in 9 games. In the 2006 COPABE qualifier for the 2008 Olympics, Paret batted .276/.444/.379 with 8 walks in 9 games. In the 2006 Central American and Caribbean Games, Eduardo hit .379/.455/.483 but was caught stealing in 2 of 3 tries; he helped Cuba win Gold.
He was 5 for 17 with 3 walks to help Cuba to a Gold in the 2007 Pan American Games. Through 2006-2007, he had hit .292/~.393/.425 with 458 steals, third in Cuban history behind Enrique Díaz and Paret's former teammate and manager Víctor Mesa.
In the 2007 Baseball World Cup, Paret hit .259/.344/.296 with 39 error-free chances at shortstop. Cuba came up short in its bid for a Gold, settling for Silver; Paret had one of their two runs in the Gold Medal game against Brian Duensing.
Paret batted .328/.439/.500 in the 2007-2008 Serie Nacional while only stealing six bases in 12 tries. He won the Gold Glove Award at shortstop despite his age.
The Olympic veteran batted .250/.400/.333 in the 2008 Beijing Games, with 3 steals in 3 tries. He made no errors in 32 chances at short and turned 6 double plays. He tied for the most steals (2) in the first round, equal to Masahiro Araki, Giorvis Duvergel, Hyun-soo Kim, Tsuyoshi Nishioka, Jong-wook Lee and Lingfeng Sun.
Paret was no longer Cuba's starting shortstop by the 2009 World Baseball Classic, when he split duties with Luis Miguel Navas. Paret was 0 for 9 with two walks in a disappointing tourney. Paret only played 28 games in the 2008-2009 Serie Nacional, hitting .277/.405/.351. He later missed a season while trying fertility treatments with his spouse, returning briefly before retiring for good in 2012. He became manager for Villa Clara in 2018-2019. They went 49-41 to finish second in their first year but then fell to 17-27 and did not qualify for the second half 2019-2020. He was then replaced by José García.