Pedro José Rodríguez, Sr.
Pedro José Rodríguez Jiménez
(Cheíto, Señor Jonrón)
- Bats Right, Throws Right
- Height 5' 10", Weight 190 lb.
Third baseman Pedro José Rodríguez, Sr. played in the Cuban Serie Nacional from 1974-1988, winning five home run titles. He played for the Cuban national team for a decade, starring on the international stage. His son Pedro José Rodríguez, Jr. also played in Cuba.
Rodríguez played for the Azucareros as a rookie in 1973-1974, winning Serie Nacional Rookie of the Year honors 27 years before his son followed in his footsteps in doing so. Debuting with the national team in the 1975 Pan American Games, he went 3 for 5 for the Gold Medal winners. The 19-year-old was the youngest Cuban national team member before Omar Linares broke his pace a decade later. Cheíto drove in 43 runs for Las Villas in the 1976 Series Selectivas, leading the league.
Pedro hit only .205 in the 1976 Amateur World Series (won by Cuba). In 1976-1977, he led the Cuban Serie Nacional with 9 home runs and 45 RBI. In the 1977 Series Selectivas, he led with 16 home runs and 56 RBI. He won his third home run title in 1977-1978, going deep 13 times for Cienfuegos. He put on one heck of a show in the 1978 Central American and Caribbean Games, hitting .556 with a Central American and Caribbean Games-record 15 homers, 37 RBI and 23 runs (tied with Armando Capiró) in only 10 games. He batted .216/.279/.486 in the 1978 Amateur World Series with 10 strikeouts in 37 at-bats and 12 RBI in 10 games; he fielded .850 at third base only. He tied Il-kwon Kim for 5th in the event in RBI, behind Antonio Muñoz, Tim Wallach, Hiromitsu Ochiai and Ben Richardson. He tied for 4th in homers, trailing Muñoz, Wallach and Ernesto Lopez. Cuba won Gold in both 1978 events.
Rodríguez led the 1978-1979 Serie Nacional in runs (42), homers (19), RBI (53) and times hit by pitch (10).
Pedro was 11 for 22 in the 1979 Pan American Games, tying Capiró for the best average, and led the event with five home runs, powering Cuba to the Gold. He then was even more dominant in the 1979 Intercontinental Cup, hitting .450 with a tournament-best 17 RBI, 7 homers, 18 hits and 15 runs. He slugged over 1.000. He trailed Pedro Medina by .012 for the best batting average as well, as Cuba again won Gold. He was named Intercontinental Cup MVP. While he starred on the international stage in 1978 and 1979, he would fade in later tournaments.
The 25-year-old led the 1979-1980 Serie Nacional with 55 RBI and 18 home runs (tied with Luis Casanova). He won the Serie Nacional Most Valuable Player award, the only Cienfuegos player to take that honor in the 20th Century (none has done so through 2010 in the 21st Century). Rodríguez hit .263 in the 1980 Amateur World Series, next-to-last on the victorious Cuban squad, but his best average in any Amateur World Series.
Cheíto batted .190 in the 1982 Central American and Caribbean Games, but tied for the most home runs (2) and RBI (6, even with Lourdes Gourriel Sr.); Cuba took home Silver for the first time in Pedro's international career, as the Dominican Republic national team got the Gold. He improved to .378 in the 1983 Intercontinental Cup, which the Cubans won. Rodríguez drew 51 walks in 1983-1984 to tie Pedro Medina for the Serie Nacional lead. In the 1984 Series Selectivas, he tied Javier Méndez for the most doubles (12) and tied Lázaro Madera for the most RBI (38).
In the 1984 Amateur World Series, his last international tournament, Pedro hit .229/.328/.625 with 6 homers, 12 runs and 11 RBI in 13 games. He tied Casanova and Roberto Bianchi for the tourney lead in circuit clouts and Cuba won the Gold. He was suspended shortly thereafter for having American money (less than $100), given him by a Venezuelan player. He did not get to play for 3 1/2 years; when he returned, he was out of condition and never rebounded.
Through 2010, Pedro was tied with Óscar Macías for 9th in Cuban history with 286 home runs. He was 9th in slugging (trailing only Omar Linares, Orestes Kindelan and Casanova among retirees) and tied with Antonio Scull for 10th with 130 intentional walks. He hit .287/.391/.545 overall in Cuba, with 969 RBI in 4,171 AB and 642 walks. The third baseman fielded .938 for his career.
He coached for Cuba in the 2013 World Baseball Classic.